Meet Mahan Mj, the mathematician monk who doesn't care for a ferrari


Mahan Mj is a 47-year-old mathematician. He is a Professor in the Department of Mathematics at Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda University, and has recently won the Infosys Prize 2015 for Mathematical Sciences. He received a prize money of 65 lakhs for his groundbreaking research on geometry, most of which he has donated, like his salary, for humanitarian causes. He is also a recipient of the 2011 Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award in Mathematical Sciences.

A graduate and post graduate from IIT Kanpur, he did his PhD in mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley, and worked at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences briefly. Following his spiritual inclination, he joined the Ramakrishna Math, impressed by the life and work of Ramakrishna Paramahansa. He has widely published and presented his research in the area of hyperbolic manifolds and ‘ending lamination spaces’, and travels all over the world collaborating with mathematicians and lecturing students.

“I am very much a part of the math community, my uniform has got nothing to do with it,” he told the Times of India in an interview. Mahan Mj wears saffron clothes to remind himself to lead an austere lifestyle and has little to do with religion. In an interview with the NDTV, he said, “I follow no organised religion. If you asked me one and put a gun to my head I would probably say science.” Neither does he have an interest in politics. “We are strictly apolitical. Science is by nature apolitical,” he adds.

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