Make maths more interesting and fun, appeals Minister

Make maths more interesting and fun, come up with better technology, and finally do everything else to ensure that those that are puzzled and fail to understand the basics of the subject might one day come to enjoy and excel in it. This was Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Jitin Prasada’s message to the Mathematics aficionados who had gathered at the valedictory ceremony of Delhi University’s international conference on “The Legacy of Srinivasa Ramanujan” on Saturday. The day was also the legendary mathematician’s birthday.

“Mathematics is increasingly becoming unpopular and very difficult for many people to understand,” he said while admitting that he found the subject too complex to understand. “The only time I use mathematics is to count my votes,” he quipped.

He also said the Government’s biggest task was to make education inclusive for all. “We want every child to be able to walk one kilometre to school. Our biggest challenge is to build opportunities for people like Ramanujan who had the drive to excel in his subject. A man who with simple determination made a mark across the world,” he said.

The six-day conference was in honour of legendry mathematician S. Ramanujan’s 125 birth anniversary and saw eminent mathematicians from across the world giving talks on various aspects.

Vice-Chancellor Dinesh Singh, himself a mathematician, declared the conference, a first for the university, a success and said the event had been a “renewal of our faith in the memory of Srinivasa Ramanujan.”

The event also saw Mr. Prasada giving away “SASTRA Ramanujan Award”, an annual prize of $ 10,000 given to a mathematician below the age of 32 for outstanding contributions to an area influenced by Ramanujan. The prize was presented to Prof. Zhiwei Yun of Stanford University.

The conference is the culmination of a series of mathematical events which were organized throughout the year as 2012 was declared the “National Mathematics Year” by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

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