After completing his PhD at the University of Manchester, my father returned to India and joined the physics department at the University of Madras as a Reader in 1952. He was later promoted as Professor. He was developing the theory of product densities that he had initiated in his PhD thesis and studying applications of it by himself and with his students. He availed every possible opportunity to invite eminent scientists to the University of Madras and to our family home Ekamra Nivas and encouraged his students to listen to their lectures and engage in discussions with them. When my father visited the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton in 1957-58 at the invitation of its Director Robert Oppenheimer, he had the opportunity to listen to over one hundred seminars on theoretical physics by the leading researchers of that generation. My father returned to India filled with a desire to expose students to the latest developments in modern physics. Not satisfied with the curriculum at the Madras University, he gave advanced lectures in theoretical physics to students at Ekamra Nivas. Eager students gathered at the seminar to hear his lectures, and this was formally called The Theoretical Physics Seminar. He invited eminent scientists to lecture in this seminar. My mother Mrs. Lalitha Ramakrishnan, graciously hosted the foreign speakers and the students by arranging lavish South Indian dinners after the seminars. I was a very young boy, but I had the privilege of meeting the eminent visitors. The seminars were held in the upstairs lecture hall of Ekamra Nivas, and the dinners were either on the lawns or in the rear building, and were often served on plantain leaves as is the custom in South India. Some of these eminent scientists were our house guests. The magic moment was when Nobel Laureate Niels Bohr visited Ekamra Nivas in 1960 and lectured in my father's seminar. Bohr was visiting India as the guest of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. When Bohr returned to Delhi on completing his visit, he told reporters that two things impressed him the most: the massive set up of the Tata Institute in Bombay, and the small group of students trained by my father in Madras. This statement by Bohr was flashed in national newspapers like The Hindu, and it attracted the attention of Prime Minister Nehru who wanted to meet my father and his students. With the assistance of Mr. C. Subramaniam, the Minister for Education, such a meeting was arranged at the Raj Bhavan, the residence of the Governor of Madras. After meeting my father and his students, Nehru asked my father what he wanted. Here was the Prime Minister of India asking what you want! At such an instance you do not ask for anything meagre. My father asked for an institute for advanced research like the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. With the support of Mr. C. Subramaniam and the benevolence of Jawaharlal Nehru, MATSCIENCE, The Institute of Mathematical Sciences, was inaugurated on 3 January, 1962, with my father as its Director.

Attached is the list of eminent visitors to Ekamra Nivas and the Theoretical Physics Seminar from 1954 to 1961 prepared from my father's documents. Dates of the visits are given in parenthesis. The list of students in the seminar is also given. I have included a few pictures of visitors to the Theoretical Physics Seminar and there will be additions to this in the future. Subsequently, I also plan to describe my father's association with these eminent scientists as well as recollections of my father about the visits of these scientists as noted by him in his original memoirs.

Krishnaswami Alladi

PHOTOS (0)         PHOTOS (1)         PHOTOS (2)         PHOTOS (3)


  1. Professor P. A. M. Dirac, F.R.S., Nobel Laureate
    Lucasian Professor, Cambridge University, England (Dec 1954)

  2. Professor Mark Oliphant, F.R.S. (he was later knighted and became Governor of South Australia)
    Australian National University, Canberra (Jan 1955)

  3. Professor C. F. Powell, F.R.S., Nobel Laureate
    Melville Wills Professor of Physics, University of Bristol, England (Dec 1955)

  4. Professor Cherry
    University of Melbourne, Australia

  5. Professor Harry Messel
    Nuclear Science Foundation, University of Sydney, Australia (Jan 1957)

  6. Professor W. W. Bruechner
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA

  7. Professor T. G. Room, F.R.S.
    University of Sydney, Australia

  8. Professor Laurent Schwartz, Fields Medalist
    University of Paris, France

  9. Professor H. Pitt, F.R.S.
    University of Leeds, England

  10. Sir. C. G. Darwin, F.R.S.
    Former President, Royal Society, England

  11. Professor L. Janossy
    Director, Eotvos Institute, Budapest, Hungary (Jan 1959)

  12. Professor S. Koba
    Yukawa Hall, Kyoto, Japan

  13. Dr. T. Kotani
    University of Tokyo, Japan

  14. Professor Andre Mercier
    University of Berne, Switzerland (Sept 1959)

  15. Professor N. Dallaporta
    University of Padova, Italy (Oct 1959)

  16. Professor A. M. Lane
    A.E. Research Establishment, Harwell, England (Dec 1959)

  17. Professor George Gamow
    University of Colorado, USA (Dec 1959)

  18. Professor Abdus Salam, F. R. S. (Salam later won the Nobel Prize)
    Imperial College, London, England (Jan 1960)

  19. Professor Niels Bohr, Nobel Laureate
    Bohr Institute of Theoretical Physics, Copenhagen, Denmark (Jan 1960)

  20. Professor Christoff
    University of Sofia, Bulgaria (Feb 1960)

  21. Professor Phillip Morrison
    Cornell University, Ithaca, USA (Mar 1960)

  22. Professor A. H. Copeland
    University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA (Oct 1960)

  23. Professor Kamp-de-Feriet
    University of Lille, France (Jan 1961)

  24. Professor W. Heitler, F.R.S.
    University of Zurich, Switzerland (Feb 1961)

  25. Professor Marshall H. Stone
    Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago, USA (Apr 1961)

  26. Professor Hlavaty
    Institute of Fluid Dynamics, Indiana, USA

  27. Professor Murray Gell-Mann (Gell-Mann later won the Nobel Prize)
    California Institute of Technology, USA (summer 1961)

  28. Professor R. A. Dalitz
    University of Chicago, USA (summer 1961)

  29. Professor Sandstrom
    Uppsala University, Sweden (July 1961)

  30. Professor Donald Glaser, Nobel Laureate
    University of California, Berkeley, USA (Aug 1961)

  31. Dr. Maurice Shapiro
    Naval Research Lab., Washington, USA (Aug 1961)

  32. Professor S. Chandrasekhar (he later won the Nobel Prize)
    Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago, USA (Nov 1961)

  33. Professor M. J. Lighthill (he was later knighted)
    Director, Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough, England (Nov 1961)

  34. Professor McCrea Hazlett
    Vice-President, University of Rochester, USA (Dec 1961)


  1. K. Ananthanarayanan

  2. A. P. Balachandran

  3. G. Bhamathi

  4. V. Devanathan (acted as the Seminar Secretary)

  5. N. G. Deshpande

  6. S. Indumathi

  7. P. M. Mathews

  8. V. Radhakrishnan

  9. P. Rajagopal

  10. B. Ramachandran

  11. G. Ramachandran

  12. K. Raman

  13. T. K. Radha

  14. N. R. Ranganathan

  15. M. Srinivasan

  16. S. K. Srinivasan

  17. R. Thunga

  18. R. K. Umerjee

  19. R. Vasudevan

  20. K. Venkatesan

  21. V. K. Viswanathan

   *)   E. T. Nambi Iyengar (helped with all academic correspondence.)

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Created by K. Alladi ( on Thursday, December 24, 2009.
Last update made Tue Jan 12 19:54:09 EST 2010.