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In Memoriam

M.S. Narasimhan

M.S. Narasimhan (photo credit: Giovanni Montenero, ICTP Photo Archives)
M.S. Narasimhan (photo credit: Giovanni Montenero, ICTP Photo Archives)


ICTP joins the international research community in mourning the passing of M.S. Narasimhan, an eminent mathematician with a long and distinguished career, including a close association with ICTP.

Narasimhan was the head of ICTP's Mathematics section from 1993 to 1999, mentoring many mathematicians from the developing world. After retiring from ICTP, he continued to be a friend and advisor of ICTP and served as a member of the Scientific Council. His work earned him prestigious awards, including the 1989 Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Mérite awarded by the President of France, the Padma Bhushan Award by the President of India (1990), the C.V. Raman Birth Centenary Award of the Indian Science Congress (1994), and the 2006 King Faisal Prize.

"It is a loss for the international community and especially for ICTP," commented ICTP Director Atish Dabholkar, adding, "In addition to his own major accomplishments in mathematics,  Narasimhan contributed so much to mentoring younger mathematicians and to building the mathematics community in India while at TIFR and in the developing world at large while at ICTP. He was a wonderful person, always keen to know about the interactions between physics and mathematics, and open to new ideas with insightful comments. He was an inspiration for many and will be greatly missed."

In 2020, the family of ICTP founder Abdus Salam awarded its Spirit of Abdus Salam Award to Narasimhan in recognition of his extensive work to promote the development of mathematics in disadvantaged parts of the world. Abdus Salam's son Ahmad, who coordinates the Spirit of Salam Award on behalf of this family, said, "Professor Narasimhan’s relationship with Abdus Salam started long before 1993 when he was appointed head of the Mathematics section.  Professor Narasimhan's friendship goes back to the 1980s when he was first recognised by Salam and invited to come and play a role in the development of ICTP. M.S. responded with great gusto in completing the tasks that Salam assigned to him. Professor Narasimhan had the benefit of knowing and engaging with Salam first hand, and was inevitably greatly influenced by him.  As a citizen of a great country which showed great love for our father, we know how proud Abdus Salam was of his relationship with Professor Narasimhan."

A recording of the 2020 Spirit of Salam award ceremony can be viewed on ICTP's YouTube channel