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Mathematics genius remembered

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Long-cherished dream: Children browsing through books at the mathematics library inaugurated in Nanganallur on Friday. —
Long-cherished dream: Children browsing through books at the mathematics library inaugurated in Nanganallur on Friday. —

Staff Reporter

P.K. Srinivasan’s family throws open library of mathematics books at Nanganallur

CHENNAI: Mathematics genius and educator P.K. Srinivasan’s life ambition was to create a permanent exhibition for mathematics. “Ten Crores, 10 acres, 10 years… that is what PKS called the project… he would always talk of making a huge place on the lines of science expos,” recalled long-time associate N. Balasubramanian, former Joint Director, Cipher Bureau, at PKS’ third remembrance day here on Friday.

In his memory, P.K. Srinivasan’s family inaugurated a library of mathematics books that belonged to PKS, at 14/20, 25th Street, Thillaiganga Nagar, Nanganallur.

Mr. Balasubramanian said that PKS wanted to teach children in their mother tongue and make mathematics as a way of life.

Born on November 4, 1924, PKS obtained a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. Having completed master’s degree in education, he was also a Fullbright

Exchange teacher of mathematics in the United States and a senior lecturer in Nigeria. He was also a lecturer in NCERT study group.

“Our father believed in detecting and nurturing mathematics talent at the pre-school level. He believed that a true and successful teacher was one who never ceased to be a student. For over four decades he held an unwavering torch for the spread and appreciation of mathematics education in India and all over the world,” said Kannan P. Srinivasan, PKS’ youngest son, who dedicated the library and a photo gallery in memory of his father.

“He was full of energy and would most times be immersed in the propagation of mathematics that he would even forget us. He ate, breathed and even dreamed in mathematics that once when he had to tell a house number to a rickshawman in Delhi, he said the address was 100 minus 2.

Though he had taught in the U.S., when he returned he preferred to go back to teaching at the Muthialpet Higher Secondary School in North Chennai,” recalled P.S. Govindarajan, PKS’ eldest son, an IT entrepreneur. He took part in the International Congress on Mathematics Education since 1972. After retiring from government service, he organised expositions for children and also State-level conferences on ‘kolam’ and mathematics.

He also wrote over 60 books. The PKS Research Foundation, a non-profit voluntary organisation that aimed to remove phobia of mathematics, was also launched on the occasion.

PKS passed away on June 20, 2005.

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