IISER PUNE celebrated its annual Math Day – a perfect amalgamation of mathematics and fun, on the 11th of March, 2017, the Saturday closest to Pi (3.14) day.
As a prelude to the event a symposium titled : “An App called Math” was organized on the 4th of March. It consisted of a series of thought provoking talks by eminent researchers, all elucidating the application of mathematics across disciplines. Ranging from Dr. Chaitanya Athale talking on “Why we have five fingers on each hand and self organized morphogenetic”, Dr. Anirban Hazra explaining “The Mathematics underlying a Chemical Reaction”, Dr. Nina Joseph Mani unraveling the “Mathematical methods involved in numerical weather prediction”, Dr. Venkateshwara Pai revealing the “Interesting uses of mathematics in astronomy in ancient India ” and Dr. Sunil Mukhi speaking on “When numbers get serious”, it was a perfect line up of very enthralling and engaging talks. In the following week the movie “The Man Who Knew Infinity” was screened. Also two competitions were held in the run up to Math Day, these included the Math Convocation Flag Design Competition and the Logo and Caption for the e-clock competition.
With an atmosphere of high excitement and elation, the long awaited day finally unfolded. The inaugural ceremony was held on the Mathematics floor. It began with the release of the Math profile booklet by Prof. A. Raghuram, Chair of Mathematics at IISER Pune and inauguration of the Math profile display board and e-clock by Prof. Gadadhar Misra of IISc Bangalore. On the occasion of Math day, the IISER Pune library was renamed as Srinivasa Ramanujan library, by our director Prof. K.N. Ganesh. An installation of a portrait of Ramanujan, painted by Prof. G. Ambika was unveiled in the library. This was followed by the traditional Pie-cutting ceremony and high tea.
After this, began a spectrum of activities – Math Clubhouse – wherein one and all embarked on a journey that revealed the fun side of Mathematics. The Lecture Hall Complex bustled with activity as everyone put up their best show to win cash prizes and chocolates. The harmonograph designed by students could make you fascinating figures magically, along with elucidating the mathematics behind it. This was a great opportunity to unleash one’s creative side. A perfect example of Math in action! – the Zome tools with its tiny struts having the power to transform into magnificent structure, was a sight to behold. From anti-prisms to 4-D cubes, you could see and put your geometry to test. Math-Pictionary saw professors and students alike trying desperately to draw mathematics, anything to make their team win! An awfully beautiful battle of wits and art. The all time favorite Rubik-mania was back with cubers testing their speed and efficiency with various platonic solid shaped Rubik puzzles. If “butter fingers” is what describes you best, here was the chance to prove yourself. With “cut and fold” theorem at its heart, this event demonstrated how plane figures of varying complexity could be made with folds and just a single cut. And for all the coding enthusiasts there was the Pi-thon contest. And, in the midst of all these, the mind-boggling 30-minute puzzles kept people on their toes.
The morning session drew to a close with the challenging Quiz Prelim. This saw a huge participation of over hundred teams from all over Pune, all competing to make it to the top four.
The post lunch session began with a colloquium by Prof. Gadadhar Misra of IISc Bangalore. The talk was tilted: “The Grothendieck Inequality”. This was followed by an extraordinary showcase of talent by Pranav Kappal, aged 9, a student of class IV in Sanskriti School, Bukum who can solve 2*2 , 3*3, Pyraminx, Megaminx and mirror cube. He competes at competitions organized by World Cubing Association across India. He was a finalist at East India Open in January this year which was held at Kolkata under the Pyraminx Category. Pranav’s personal best for 3* 3 is 24 sec, Pyraminx 9 sec , Megaminx 1.59 min.
Next up was the very first “Integration Bee” hosted at IISER. A perfect opportunity to rush around LHC integrating one’s way through to attractive cash prizes! With hundred hidden integrals and just half an hour time, this event put both math and detective skills to test. Vishal Ranjith, a 1st year BS-MS student, topped this contest.
Following began the most awaited Erdós Quiz, the top four teams that made it to the finals included one from Fergusson College and three from IISER Pune. After three rounds of intense quizzing, the team consisting of Aanjaneya Kumar, Raagini Patki and Vishnu N of IISER emerged as winners. This was followed by the Prize Distribution for the various events that Math day encompassed of.
The highlight of the evening was the Math Day Play “The Square Root of a Sonnet” written by Nilanjan P. Chowdhury and directed by Prakash Belawadi. Based on the life of Dr. Subramanyan Chandrasekhar, the brilliant Indian-American astrophysicist who won the Nobel Prize in 1983 – a heart touching story of ambition, friendship and betrayal.
And last but not the least, was the Math Treasure Hunt for mystery-lovers which began at midnight and went on till the wee hours of the morning – a frantic hunt for the treasure hidden away tactfully and a path strewn with mathematical clues.
With this Math Day 2017 drew to a close with a smile on every face and memories worth cherishing and not to forget the numerous chocolates. The success and smooth running of the several events, was only due to the immense effort put in by various students and professors who spent hours making sure everything was as perfect as possible. Kudos to everyone whose participation made Math Day a huge success! The entire IISER community surely anticipates an even bigger celebration in the coming years.
Reported by Sayantika Mondal