The World of Mathematics, Music, and Magic by Prof. Manjul Bhargava

Renowned Mathematician Prof. Manjul Bhargava who is a recipient of the prestigious Padma Bhushan award and the Fields Medal, held an interactive session as part of Chanakya University’s Distinguished Lecture Series on 9 May 2023 at the Signature Club Resorts, Brigade Orchards, Devanahalli.

During the session, Prof. Bhargava made it surprisingly easy to see a thread running across disciplines when he articulated how number patterns create complexity in music, poetry and how Mathematics finds expression in nature.

His talk was dotted with brilliant demonstrations of applications of Mathematics in Arts, Language, and other fields. Whether it is the Virahanka numbers showing up in arrangements of flower petals, “Pingala Meruprastara” finding application in Indian musical traditions millennia prior to getting re-defined as Pascal’s Triangle or to the use of Mathematical error-detecting codes by linguists of ancient India who preserved the integrity of poetic meters. An application of ancient error detecting codes and Mathematical pattern recognition in the execution of a card trick was the cherry on top.

He related to the audience about his early life experiences introducing him to the beauty of Math and how his grandfather’s Tabla tutorials were his intellectual gateway to Mathematics.

Prof. Bhargava also added “The onus lies on nations to be their own cultural ambassadors and the revival of Indian knowledge and rich pedagogical traditions should thus become a seriously pursued academic and cultural project.

Speaking on the occasion Prof. Bhargava’s insights, Prof. M.K. Sridhar – Chancellor, Chanakya University, stated, “I met Prof. Bhargava while we joined to draft National Education Policy 2020 and continued ever since. Prof. Bhargava is an outstanding example of how an intellectual can harmonize pursuits between different disciplines and reflect Indianness in their intellectual bent. It’s the era of transdisciplinary education and that’s the kind of inspiration the students should find.”