PROF.S.MINAKSHISUNDARAM: A SKETCH BY PROF. A.SATYANARAYANA RAO WRITTEN IN 1968.
Subramiah Minakshisundaram was born on 12th. October 1913 in Trichur, Kerala State, of India. He studied in C.R.C.High School, Perambur, Madras State from 3rd Class to Sixth Form during 1919 to 1929 when he passed S.S.L.C. He had constantly Topped in Mathematics having shown a marked aptitude for it.
Collegiate Education : Studied Intermediate in Pachiyappa’s College, Madras from 1929 to 1931.
Higher Education : Studied B.A. Hons. Mathematics from Loyola College, Madras from 1931 to 1934 and secured First Class First. Got his M.A. Degree in Mathematics of the Madras University on payment of a token sum as was the custom in some universities in India those days.
Research Work after M.A. : His teachers were the well known Prof.K.Anand Rau and Prof. R. Vaidyanathaswamy . For a few years he worked under R.Vaidyanathaswamy. After studying the books ” Mathoden der Mathematics Physik ” of Prof. Richard Courant and Prof.Lichtenstein, then Prof.Razaiuddin Siddiqui author of Lectures on Quantum Mechanics and former Professor of Osmania University and who worked under Prof. Werner Heisenberg of Germany he published a few papers in Non-Linear Parabolic Equations. His thesis was entitled “Fourier Ansatz and Non- Linear Parabolic Equations .” Some of his papers were published in the Proceedings of the Indian Academy of Sciences while most of them appeared in the Journal of the Indian Mathematical Society . The thesis as a whole was published by the Madras University in their Journal. In the year 1940 he was awarded the D.Sc. in Mathematics of the Madras University, its distinguished alumnus, the much coveted degree of those days of a reputed university.
For some time he was Research Fellow, Department of Mathematics of the Madras University on a meagre sum. For a long time he was without any financial assistance and during that period he eked out his livelihood by private tuitions .
I heard Dr.P.K.Menon, Director, Joint Cipher Bureau, New Delhi mention that the active Mathematician of Madras that he was in those days and the name he made for himself in mathematical circles of Madras. He was and active member and was primarily responsible for organising a mainature Mathematics Club at Madras, of which Prof.C.T.Rajagopal, Prof.K.Chandrasekharan, Prof.K.G.Ramanathan and few others were active participants.
His work attracted the attention of stalwarts in the field of Partial Differential Equations at that time, one of them being Dr. Richard Courant, Professor Emeritus, Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University. The report on his thesis was excellent and it was praised very much. His thesis was adjudged to be one of the best thesis for the year 1940 and awarded the Narsinga Rao Medal and also he was awarded the Ramanujam Medal.