A 61-year-old Mathematician allegedly killed himself at his hostel room in the city here on Thursday.

Around afternoon, the body of Stephen Vadakkan, who was a Mathematics professor in an engineering college in Karkala till about six months ago, was found in a decomposed state at his room in YMCA hostel, Falnir.

A resident of Karkala, Mr. Vadakkan — who is the nephew of Kerala political activist priest Joseph Vadakkan — had been staying at the hostel for the past week, said YMCA authorities. He was a divorcee, with his son working in Manipal.

East Police said the body was found by a watchman who was alerted by a stench emanating from the room. A case of unnatural death record was registered.


Niranjan Chiplunkar, Principal of Department of Computer Science and Engineering at NMAM Institute of Technology, Karkala, said Mr. Vadakkan had been exhibiting signs of distress since he first joined the college around five years ago.

“In the first stint, he worked for three years in the college, then left for Bangalore for two years, before joining us back around one and a half years ago. He left abruptly six months ago, without giving a reason or even telling us in person,” he said, adding that Mr. Vadakkan handled courses in ‘Theoretical foundation of Computer Science’ and ‘Discrete Mathematics’.

Suicide attempt

Around three years ago, the professor had attempted suicide by consuming sleeping tablets.

“He had been referring to a family problem, and was distressed about it. A student saw him collapsed and he was admitted to hospital with an overdose. He was very closed up and had little interaction with the faculty,” said Mr. Chiplunkar.

Recalling Mr. Vadakkan as a popular professor with the students, he would captivate them by applying his niche expertise ‘Convulsion theorem’, to engineering principles, said Mr. Chiplunkar.


A graduate of St. Aloysius College in the city, Mr. Vadakkan had completed his post-graduate and doctoral studies in Kuwait University and University of Arizona. After having worked for sometime for the Kuwait Air Force, he had return to India two decades ago, and held professorship positions at Manipal Institute of Technology, NMAMIT, and R.V. College of Engineering.

In 1997, he self-published a book, ‘A little bit of calculus’, and was in the local news in 2001 when he claimed to discover a ‘new value of Pi’.

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