Indian mathematician prodigy Neena Gupta wins 2021 Ramanujan Prize


On December 13, mathematician Neena Gupta made history when she was announced as the recipient of the Ramanujan Prize for Young Mathematicians for 2021. Neena is only the fourth Indian to have achieved the feat.

Gupta received the “Ramanujan DST-ICTP-IMU Prize 2021 for young mathematicians from developing countries” for his excellent work in geometry and commutative algebra. She is a member of the Mathematics faculty of the renowned Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) in Kolkata.

ISI has two other teachers among the four Indians who won the Ramanujan award, Ritabrata Munshi and Amalendu Krishna. Gupta is only the third woman to win the award, first established in 2004.

The Ramanujan Prize celebrates young people under the age of 45 in the field of mathematics and offers a cash prize of approximately $15,000. The Abdus Salam International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) runs it in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India and the International Mathematical Union.

This isn’t the first time Gupta has risen to fame. In 2019, Gupta received the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology. In 2014, she received the Indian National Academy of Sciences Young Scientists Award for her solution to the Zariski Cancellation Problem, a basic problem in algebraic geometry. In one interview with an American university, Gupta describes it: “The cancellation problem asks that if you have cylinders on two geometric structures, and which have similar shapes, can we conclude that the original base structures have similar shapes?”

The Indian National Academy of Sciences described his solution as “one of the best works in algebraic geometry in recent years done anywhere”.

Gupta has been very interested in mathematics since childhood. She attended Bethune College, Kolata to graduate after graduating from Khalsa High School, Dunlop. She earned her Masters and Ph.D. degrees from ISI and was hired as a faculty member soon after.

The Ramanujan Prize is named after Srinivasa Ramajuna Iyengar, a brilliant mathematician who made significant contributions to a wide range of mathematical fields. The prize is awarded annually to a researcher from a developing country who is under the age of 45 on December 31 of the year in which the prize is awarded and who has carried out outstanding research in that country. Scholars from any branch of mathematics can apply.

Members of the 2021 Selection Committee included:

Teacher. G. Rangarajan (Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India)

Teacher. T. Toro (University of Washington and MSRI Berkeley, USA)

Prof. P. Nang (Ecole Normale Supérieure Libreville, Gabon)

Teacher. A. Wade (Pennsylvania State University, USA)

Teacher. L. Gottsche (ICTP, President)

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