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    Thanjavur :

    The 2016 SASTRA Ramanujan prize, for outstanding contributions by young mathematicians to areas influenced by the genius Srinivasa Ramanujan, will be jointly awarded to Kaisa Matomaki of University of Turku, Finland and Maksym Radziwill of McGill University, Canada, SASTRA University announced on Thursday.


    The University release said the duo’s works have opened the door to a series of breakthroughs on some difficult questions such as the Erdös discrepancy problem and Chowla’s conjecture, previously believed to be well beyond reach. The SASTRA Ramanujan Prize was established in 2005 and is awarded annually for outstanding contributions by young mathematicians to areas  influenced by Srinivasa Ramanujan.

    The age limit for the prize has been set at 32 because Ramanujan achieved so much in his brief life of 32 years. The prize will be awarded during December 21-22, 2016, at the International Conference on Number Theory at SASTRA University in Kumbakonam (Ramanujan’s hometown) where the prize has been given annually.
    Matomäki and Radziwill will share the $10,000 prize this year. They are especially recognised for their spectacular collaboration, and also for their significant individual contributions.

    Kaisa Matomäki is one of the strongest young analytic number theorists in the world today.
    MaksymRadziwill is one of the very best of the new generation of analytic number theorists, highly original, and technically one of the strongest and broadest.

    source: / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Tamil Nadu / by Express News Service / October 13th, 2016

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    Madurai :

    A Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel from Kanyakumari  district has entered the Guinness Book of World Records  along with a group of other Indian magicians for continuous performance of magic tricks by a group.

    The Indian Brotherhood of Magicians (IBM) broke the record set by 130 magicians in Italy, by peforming magic continuously for six hours in New Delhi on April 24 this year. The group performed various tricks, including the ribbon trick, rope trick, dove and rabbit vanishing tricks among others, to enter the book of records. The group of 162 magicians broke the record by performing the same task. They received their Guinness certification, recently.

    B Ajithkumar, 41, of Arumananai Vilavankode, in Kanyakumari district said that he had always been interested in magic and pursued his passion even after he joined the CRPF at the of 22. He learned tricks from great magicians in Thiruvananthapuram and also Wilson Sambakulam in New Delhi, whom he considers his master.

    Ajithkumar who is now serving in Assam, came down to his home town recently and showed the certificate to the Kanyakumari district collector, Sajjansingh R Chavan, who lauded him for his efforts. Ajithkumar’s daughter Sangeetha is also learning some tricks from her father.

    source: / The Times of India / News Home> City> Madurai / TNN / October 15th, 2016

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    B. Amudha

    B. Amudha

    Many meteorological observatories in the State and the country still use mercury-based measuring instruments to make weather observations and predictions.

    In a bid to address the challenge of using dangerous metal, B. Amudha, Scientist-D, Regional Meteorological Centre, Chennai, wrote a report assessing the factors preventing many developing countries to switch over to digital devices.

    This won her the Prof. Dr. Vilho Vaisala award instituted by World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).

    She was the first Indian Meteorological Department official to receive the award for development of instruments and methods of observation in developing countries at a WMO conference in Madrid, Spain in September. The award was instituted in 1986 and carries a medal, diploma and a cash prize.

    Ms. Amudha was nominated to the expert team of WMO. “It was decided during an convention that the mercury based devices must be replaced with digital ones by 2020. But, many developing countries did not initiate measures. My task was to submit a report on the status of alternatives to such instruments and assessing the factors limiting the countries from switching over to digital devices,” she said.

    Ms. Amudha framed a questionnaire seeking 191 member countries to respond about the status of the use of mercury based instruments.

    “Only 28 per cent of the developing countries responded. In Tamil Nadu, we are replacing mercury barometers used to measure atmospheric pressure in a phased manner. We now have digital barometers in 12 of the 18 observatories run by the department across the State. However, 24 part-time observatories are yet to get digital barometers,” she said.

    Moreover, the department is still in the process of replacing mercury thermometers used to measure temperature across the country.

    “My report was chosen for the award as it was considered useful to address the issue of enabling transition to digital instruments in developing countries and assist in policy decisions,” Ms. Amudha said.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai/ by Special Correspondent / Chennai – October 14th, 2016

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    October 10th, 2016adminLeaders, Records, All, Science & Technologies
    G.R. Ratnavel

    G.R. Ratnavel

    Leading dermatologist and cosmetologist G.R. Ratnavel was declared brain-dead here on Sunday. He was admitted to the Apollo Hospitals in Tiruchi after he collapsed during a visit to the Rockfort temple here a couple of days ago.

    Dr. Ratnavel (50), who headed the Department of Cosmetology at the Government Stanley Medical College, Chennai, was in Tiruchi to attend a conference of dermatologists.

    Organ harvest

    His family has given its consent to donate his organs, Ratnavel’s father-in-law Maha Krishnan, a senior dermatologist who was also in Tiruchi to attend the same conference, said.

    Dr. Ratnavel is credited with having established the first cadaver skin bank at the Stanley Medical College and the Department of Cosmetology at the same institution.

    He collapsed while worshipping at the Uchi Pillaiyar shrine atop the Rockfort on Friday morning. He was carried by a few people down and taken in an autorickshaw to a nearby private hospital. He was then shifted to Apollo Hospitals in Tiruchi as he was also a consultant with the hospital in Chennai.

    Hospital sources said he was brought in an unconscious state and had suffered intracranial haemorrhage. Having got the consent of the family to retrieve the vital organs, the process of harvest of lung, kidneys, heart, cornea and skin would be done at the Apollo Hospitals here late on Sunday evening, sources said.

    Barring the lungs and skin which would be sent to Fortis Malar Hospital at Chennai and Stanley Medical College respectively, the other organs would be sent to few private hospitals in Tiruchi, the sources added.

    The post-mortem is expected to be done at the Government Hospital in Tiruchi on Monday. The funeral will take place at Chennai, his family circles said.

    Dr. Ratnavel has trained many cosmetic surgeons, said Tiruchi-based senior dermatologist N. Balasubramanian.

    Doctors at Government Stanley Medical College were shocked and grieved over the brain death of Dr. Ratnavel, who was the head of the cosmetology department and had served in the hospital for over a decade.

    “It was Dr. Ratnavel who developed the cosmetology department — there is no other such department in any government hospital here,” said hospital dean Ponnambalam Namasivayam.

    Cadaver skin bank

    Dr. Ratnavel spearheaded the setting up of a cadaver skin bank at the hospital, the first of its kind in the government health system in the State. The skin bank, opened in August, stores harvested donor skin that can then be used on individuals as a temporary skin covering cases of burns or acute skin failure as a dressing.

    “We have lost a very good colleague,” said V. Anandan, head of the dermatology department, who was with Dr. Ratnavel at the conference in Tiruchi. “He has done so much for the institution. This will be a huge loss to the hospital,” said K. Kannan, head of the cardiology department.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai / R. Rajaram / Tiruchi-Chennai, October 10th, 2016

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    An ancient urban civilisation existed in the recently excavated site in Keeladi which archaeologists compare to Harappa

    An ancient urban civilisation existed in the recently excavated site in Keeladi which archaeologists compare to Harappa

    The Indus Valley Civilisation was part of the cop per age which dates back to 6000 BC but, interestingly, man was still in the stone age in southern India during that time, notes P D Balaji, head, department of history and archaeology, University of Madras . “In peninsular India, the chalcolithic (copper) age deposits overlap with the neolithic deposits of the stone age. There is neither pure neolithic culture nor pure chalcolithic culture in south India ,” Balaji said during the 23rd annual session of the Tamil Nadu History Congress at Periyar University  in Salem on Sunday.

    Balaji said the reason for the absence of the pure copper age in southern India still intrigues many archaeologists.At one point of time in India, both copper (in north) and stone (south) were used as raw materials for manufacturing tools. This might be the reason for the presence of copper implements mixed with the neolithic deposits, he said.

    “The inverted firing technology used for manufacturing black-and-red-ware pottery had emerged in north India during the copper age itself. In many chalcolithic sites, including the later Harappan sites, black-and-red-ware sherds are found in plenty. However, the same technology took more than 1,500 years to reach the southern part. When it reached peninsular India, people were in the iron age,” he said.

    The chalcolithic-era pottery of north India eventually became the characteristic pottery of iron age culture in south India. “Perhaps this sort of divergent chronology leads one to interpret that development first took place in north India, from where it penetrated to other parts,” said Balaji, who was speaking on ” Archaeology in reconstructing the past: Problems and perspectives”.

    The iron age of south India is considered important as there was an extensive horizontal mobility of society during the phase. To prove his point, Balaji said microsettlements began to emerge all over the ancient Tamil country at this time. “The people of this period followed a megalithic culture that synchronised with the end phase of iron age and preSangam age. That vouchsafes for the references to megalithic burial practices in the Sangam literatures literatures,” he said.
    The Sangam age between 300 BC and 300 AD was significant as it was during this period that major townships, capital cities and port cities came into existence for the first time in the ancient Tamil country, he added.

    source: / The Times of India / News Home> City News> Chennai / M T Saju / TNN / October 04th, 2016

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    From (L) Justices R Sudhakar, C T Selvam, M M Sundaresh, T S Sivagnanam and V Bharathidasan at Loyola Alumni Meet, in the city on Sunday | Romani Agarwal

    From (L) Justices R Sudhakar, C T Selvam, M M Sundaresh, T S Sivagnanam and V Bharathidasan at Loyola Alumni Meet, in the city on Sunday | Romani Agarwal

    Chennai  :

    Not enough 60-year-olds are on Facebook. This is probably why the folks behind the reunion of the Economics batch of 1976, Loyola College had to request a ‘special op’ be carried out to track down their classmates.

    Members of the alumni committee, who have diligently tracked down every one of their 76 classmates, did so over a span of two years. Gerald Arputhasamy, one of the alumni and co-ordinator of the event over the weekend, recalled, “We have called offices, wives, postmen, even rang up the United Nations once to reach a classmate of our who works with the World Trade Organisation!”

    Sadly what they found was that 40 years after college graduation, nine classmates were deceased and several others – spread all across from Sowcarpet to Singapore – were unreachable.

    That’s when Gerald requested classmate and friend, retired Commissioner of Police T Rajendran to help out. And as you can imagine, returning home from work to find out that cops had come knocking, alarmed more than one senior gent in the process. “We had quite a few people scared, before they called back and I got to say: It’s me machan,” remembers Rajendran with a laugh. In this day and age, the concept of ‘unreachable’ is rather alien for most, but this team did not have it that easy.

    Like M Ganesan from Tirupattur who was tracked by his classmates all the way down to his new address and the postmaster in the main office. With a little convincing, this enabled them to collect the number of the specific postman who frequented Ganesan’s street. He was requested to give a missed call when near his house. However, Ganesan’s elderly father was not as pliable, refusing to share his son’s number with the postman.

    So when Ganesan did eventually return home that week, he was shocked to learn that a police visit to his house had become the talk of the neighbourhood. Although now he’s got one heck of a story to tell his grandchildren before they head off to college!

    The Loyola College Economics Batch of ’76 reunion will take place on October 8. The alumni who have tracked down a good number of their faculty as well plan to kick-off the day by recreating morning attendance with their original roll numbers.

    Legal luminaries honoured at meet
    Loyola College on Sunday honoured several legal luminaries, including Supreme Court Judge Justice Jasti Chelameswar, with its alumni award as part of its annual ‘Alumni Day’ celebrations. Besides Justice Chelameswar, a BSc Physics student of the college who passed out in 1972, the college also awarded its other alumni, Justices T S Sivagnanam, C T Selvam, V Bharathidasan, M M Sundresh (all from Madras High Court) and Justice R Sudhakar of the Jammu & Kashmir High Court. Senior advocates Krishna Srinivasan, PS Raman, Vijay Narayan and Joseph Kodianthara were also honoured on the occasion. Delivering his address as the chief guest, Justice Chelameswar said the role of education is to refine the value systems of students.

    source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Chennai / by Express News Service / October 03rd, 2016

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    October 1st, 2016adminRecords, All, Sports
    Arun Krishnan (in the red jersey) successfully completes the Ironman Championship. (photo courtesy / Arun Krishnan's Facebook)

    Arun Krishnan (in the red jersey) successfully completes the Ironman Championship. (photo courtesy / Arun Krishnan’s Facebook)

    Chennai :

    “Post retirement, you have to keep yourself occupied,” says Arun Krishnan . The 67-year-old may sound like any other elderly person striving to remain purposeful, but make no mistake, Krishnan is India’s oldest Ironman , and acknowledges better than anyone else that age is just a number. “Anything is possible if one has the will,” he says.

    In 2009, a day after he turned 60, he sat down to prepare himself a bucket list and wrote down a determined entry – ‘The Ironman Asia Pacific Championship, Cairns, Australia’. To Krishnan, a fitness buff with extraordinary levels of endurance, this seemed doable with rigorous training. However, two years later in 2011, his doctors informed him that his knees had worn out and forbade him from climbing stairs, leave alone running.

    “I quickly took to Ayurveda, which helped me do the Chicago, Berlin and the Half Iron marathons. But that said, Ayurveda worked for me, it need not for everyone. One must be careful,” says Krishnan.

    In January 2014, misfortune struck again when he was all set to compete in the Tokyo marathon. His knees locked up and he completed it in six agonizing hours, swearing “I’d never run again.” But the itch of completing an Ironman triathlon got the better of him and he once again sought Ayurveda, this time, along with physiotherapy. The Ironman games called for a rigorous training spanning 24 weeks, and when Krishnan came to know of even older contenders participating in it including an 84-year-old Japanese man and an 82-year-old Catholic nun – it gave him further impetus to see it through.

    After braving a swelling sea following sudden rain, Krishnan finished the triathlon with a 3.9km swim, 180km of cycling and a 42km run, in 16 hours, 27 minutes and 35 seconds, about two minutes and 25 seconds ahead of the cut-off time.

    After achieving such an incredible feat, one may think that a man of Krishnan’s age would like to go easy. But not for a man with Krishnan’s spirit. He, instead, penned down another task to his bucket list – to train for another two decades to run an Ironman with his granddaughter. “She’s two years old now,” he smiles, adding “But more immediately, I want to run the Boston qualifier.”

    source: / The Times of India / News Home> Chennai News> Chennai / Saranya Chakrapani / October 01st, 2016
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    September 26th, 2016adminAmazing Feats, Education, Records, All


    Erode :

    He holds a record that is not easy to beat. A lawyer based in Erode,  K K M Kesavan has to his credit, a PhD in Legal Aid, 14 master’s degrees and eight PG diplomas to his credit. And he is 75!

    Now, he is in the second year of a correspondence master’s programme, even as 2017 will mark the golden jubilee of his legal career. Among his degrees are MA in English, Political Science, History, Sociology, Economics, Public Administration, MCom, MSc in Education Management and MBA, besides his degree in lawfrom the universities of Periyar, Annamalai, Bharathiar and Alagappa.

    His success in life was achieved against the odds as his family was neither well off nor highly educated. Born to a small farmer in Arathil village in Kannur district of Kerala (then in the Madras Presidency), his mother died when he was just a year old.

    In 1959, Kesavan came to Erode and joined his uncle Sankar, who owned a small hotel. He got a bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Delhi University through correspondence and then studied BL in Bangalore University.

    Kesavan joined as a junior advocate under V S Venkatrama Ayyar, who later became a High Court judge. He then worked under A P Chinnasamy. Later, he started his own practice.

    “As my seniors mostly handled civil cases, I have attended over 2,500 civil cases so far and won nearly 80 per cent of them,” he recalls.

    Of the 45 juniors who have worked with him, seven became magistrates and munsifs. There are now four juniors working with him.

    Kesavan’s quest for learning started at a young age and continued even after he started working as a lawyer, as per the advice of an uncle, Vasudevan, a school teacher in Erode.

    Practising actively in Erode, Kesavan has held the president’s post of advocate associations several times and is now the joint secretary of the AIADMK lawyers wing.

    His son K S Jeyaganesan is a Central government pleader in the Chennai High Court. His daughter, also based in Chennai, is a Bhartanatyam exponent. She had served as a college lecturer for a while.

    Proper use of time is the secret to his achievement. “All of us get the same 24 hours a day. How we utilise it, is important in coming up in life,” says Kesavan.

    His wife, Savithri, should also get some credit for it. As she took all responsibility for the family, he was able to focus completely on his work and studies. The author of many articles on law, Kesavan’s only pastime is reading.

    On the judiciary front, Kesavan suggests a National Judicial Academy to select judges for high courts. It should also conduct tests for the judges before elevating them to the Supreme Court.

    This method, along the lines of IAS selection, would end the present controversy over the collegium system, which is not transparent.

    source: / The New Indian Express / by Express News Service / September 26th, 2016

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    Chennai :

    A long with over a dozen students from Beta Matriculation School, we board the Chennai Express – TNIE’s double-decker bus (sponsored by NAC Jewellers) near the famous Gandhi statue. The youngsters were eager to learn more about the history of the city, and were surprised when Suresh Sethuraman, convener of INTACH Chennai Chapter joined us.

    Suresh, a numismatic expert and one of the very few with a doctorate in this field, has written over 30 books. Cheerfully greeting the students, he began talking about the heritage buildings along the Rajaji Salai – Wallajah Road stretch.

    Student aboard the Chennai Express  P Jawahar

    Student aboard the Chennai Express  P Jawahar

    “The DGP office to your left was built in 1839, and the Queen Mary’s College in 1914 was the first women’s college in South India…,” were some of the interesting nuggets he announced on the mike. As we cross several other buildings on the stretch, including the Ice House (Vivekanandar Illam), Presidency College and the University of Madras, Suresh quizzes the students. “Why was the ‘Ice House’ called so?” Pat came the reply from a 15-year-old, “The British imported ice from America and stored it here,” and Suresh continued, “Yes, from Boston! And the ice crossed the equator twice and never melted!” he added.

    Across the Napier Bridge, we reach the War Memorial and take a detour via the railway office building and notice a few more heritage buildings like the Curzons. “It was built in the early 20th Century and they are wonderful furniture makers. In fact, they made the furniture for the Madras University library,” shared Suresh.

    After a satisfying tour, we caught up with Suresh for a small chat about being an archaeologist. “Archaeology has always been a rare subject. But now it’s getting rarer,” he explained. “People are not taking to it due to two main reasons — lack of awareness about the subject and the wrong notion that archaeologists have to live in the forest digging and can’t make money. Senior archaeologists are retiring and we don’t have youngsters with technical qualifications to occupy the post. So, we are trying to spread awareness through career counselling sessions.”

    Though foreign governments are giving scholarships to Indian nationals to hone their skills in archaeology, Suresh rued that the number of eligible applicants is few. “This is why engineers and doctors corner the scholarships. We don’t have good archeologists who apply for them!” he said, and added that heritage clubs in schools and colleges could be used to create awareness among the youth. “You can graduate in any discipline and pursue a masters in archaeology,” he said.  The oldest teaching institution for archaeology in India is the University of Madras, while Deccan College, Pune and MS University, Vadodara are colleges that match international standards. “Sadly, we don’t have many Indian students studying the subject in these universities. But, people from abroad come here to study. That’s the sad state,” he sighed.

    Scholars have pointed out that before 1947, Santhome, Kilpauk and Chetpet were sites of archaeological digs. “There’s a lot of scope for excavations in Chennai. The irony is that India is rich in archaeology but poor in archeologists,” he averred.

    Suresh explained about a little-known piece of history — Roman trade in South India. “Romans and Greeks came here 2,000 years ago. They reached Poduke (Arikamedu) and came to Pondicherry. From there they travelled to Melange (Mahabalipuram) and finally reached Mailarfa (Mylapore). They used the ECR route even before we built it!” The Romans took Indian textiles, gems and spices for gold and silver coins and accidental discoveries have shown that their presence was strong in areas like Mambalam and Saidapet. “Excavation is still on in some rural parts like Kodumanal,” he said.

    But the most astonishing fact is that scholars and archaeologists from abroad aren’t aware of the Roman trade in South India. “It’s our fault too. We discover something but we don’t publish it in international journals. Even in books about Romans, the trade is either mentioned in merely a line or there’s no reference at all,” he rued.

    source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Chennai / by Roshne B / August 29th, 2016

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    Kamal Haasan. Photo: Nagara Gopal

    Kamal Haasan. Photo: Nagara Gopal

    The Order is part of France’s premier award, the Legion of Honor.

    Actor Kamal Haasan will be awarded the Chevalier de L’Ordre Arts et Lettres (The Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) by the French government. The Order is part of France’s premier award, the Legion of Honor.

    “The distinction, which is yet another laurel for the actor, is in recognition of his high level of artistic excellence and his distinguished career achievements. The award will be conferred on Kamal Haasan at a special ceremony,” read a statement from the actor’s publicist.

    The order of merit is awarded “to recognize eminent artists and writers, as well as people who have contributed significantly to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world.”

    The Order has three ranks – chevalier (knight), officier (officer), commandeur (commander) – and two high offices.

    Other Indians who have been conferred the Chevalier Order include veteran musician Balamuralikrishna, and actors like Sivaji Ganesan, Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Nandita Das and Shah Rukh Khan.

    The actor released a statement thanking his family and fans for supporting him.

    Our Staff Reporter adds:

    In March 30 this year, the versatile actor, who made his debut as a child artiste in Kalathoor Kannamma in 1959, had received the Henri Langlois Award for his contribution to cinema in France.

    Mr. Haasan, who is a recipient of the Padma Bhushan from the Government of India, has donned several hats and has been actively involved in production, direction, playback singing and song writing in films.

    Chachi 420 (the Hindi version of Avvai Shanmughi), Viswaroopam and Hey Ram are among the movies he has directed.

    He is currently directing and starring in the trilingual film Sabhash Naidu which is being made simultaneously in Tamil, Hindi and Telugu. He was last seen onscreen playing the lead in the movie Thoongavanam.

    Here is his full statement:

    “The French Government has kindly conferred the Chevalier award for Arts and Letters on me. On this occasion, I bow before my more deserving forerunners, Mr. Satyajit Ray and Mr. Sivaji Ganesan, who made even the common man realise the value of the Chevalier award. I thank His Excellency, the Ambassador of France in India, Mr. Alexandre Ziegler, who inimated me of this honour.

    “This award humbles me rather than stiffen me with pride.

    “I realise my journey in my chosen field has not been alone. Teachers and admirers abounded around me. With motherly care they have applauded my every little step forward. The melancholy of my parents not being alive to see this day is allayed by the fact that the elders and the young are still around in my family to enjoy it. I dedicate this award to my admirers and audience, who give me the tenacity of purpose to pursue, to this day and moment, my arts and letters. Thank you.”

    source: / The Hindu / Home> Features> Cinema / Internet Desk / August 21st, 2016

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