Harish-Chandra Research Institute (HRI) is a research institution, named after the mathematician Harish-Chandra, and located in Prayagraj (Allahabad), Uttar Pradesh. It is an autonomous institute, funded by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), Government of India.
Research at HRI is focussed on Mathematics and Theoretical Physics. The academic community at HRI consists of over 30 faculty members, 20 post-doctoral fellows, and 40 graduate students.
The Institute has a graduate programme leading to the Ph.D. degree. Degrees for the programme are awarded by the Homi Bhabha National Institute. Admissions to the graduate program take place through a Joint Entrance Screening Test, which is organized in collaboration with several other institutions, and an interview. Further, the Institute offers post-doctoral fellowships, and visiting positions at various levels.
The Institute started in 1975, on an endowment from the B.S. Mehta Trust, Calcutta. Indeed, until October, 2001, the Institute was named the Mehta Research Institute.
During its initial stages, the Institute was managed by B.N. Prasad, and later, by S.R. Sinha, from the University of Allahabad. The formal leadership structure of the Institute came into being with P.L. Bhatnagar, who took charge, as the first Director, from Sinha. After Bhatnagar, the stewardship of the Institute returned to Sinha, until January 1983, when S.S. Shrikhande of the Bombay University joined the Institute as the next Director.
During Shrikande's tenure, an ongoing dialogue with the DAE, regarding the future of the Institute, entered a decisive stage. The DAE constituted a review committee to examine the issue. Following that committee's report, in 1985, the Government of Uttar Pradesh agreed to provide land for the Institute campus, and the DAE promised financial support for meeting both the recurring and non-recurring expenses of the Institute.
In January 1992, finally, the Institute acquired about 66 acres of land in Jhusi, Prayagraj (Allahabad). Another important event in the Institute's short history occurred at this point — H.S. Mani took over as the Director from Shrikande. With Mani's arrival, and the move, in 1996, to the new campus at Jhusi, the activities of the Institute gained a fresh impetus, marking a period of rapid growth that still continues.
HRI seeks to expand its activities. New additions are made to the faculty every year. We expect the faculty strength to rise to 50 in the current phase of development. The number of graduate students, and of post-doctoral fellows, will increase correspondingly.
We also hope to see more interaction between the Institute and the university system in the country. Already, we have various programmes which enable undergraduate and graduate students, from various universities, to visit HRI for periods ranging from a few weeks to a couple of years. We envisage expansion in such programmes over the next several years.
Harish-Chandra was born on 11 October, 1923 in Kanpur, an industrial town near Prayagraj (Allahabad) in Uttar Pradesh, India. He became one of the leading mathematicians of the twentieth century. Harish-Chandra died on 16 October, 1983, in Princeton, New Jersey, USA. The following biography of Harish-Chandra, by John J. O'Connor and Edmund F. Robertson, and the accompanying photograph, are from the MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive, at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland.
A brief biography
Harish-Chandra attended school in Kanpur, then attended the University of Allahabad. Here he studied theoretical physics, this direction being the result of studying Paul Dirac's treatise [Dir30] on quantum mechanics. He was awarded a master's degree in 1943, and then went to Bangalore to work further on theoretical physics.
After a short while, Harish-Chandra went to Cambridge, where he studied for his Ph.D. under Dirac's supervision. During his time in Cambridge, he moved away from physics, and became more interested in mathematics. While at Cambridge, he attended a lecture by Pauli, and pointed out a mistake in Pauli's work. The two were to become life long friends. Harish-Chandra obtained his degree in 1947 and, in the same year, he went to the USA.
Dirac visited Princeton for one year, and Harish-Chandra worked as his assistant during this time. However, he was greatly influenced by the mathematicians Hermann Weyl and Claude Chevalley. The period from 1950 to 1963 was his most productive, and he spent these years at the Columbia University. During this time, he worked on representations of semisimple Lie groups. Also, during this period he had close contact with André Weil.
In [Lan85], Harish-Chandra is quoted as saying that he believed that his lack of background in mathematics was, in a way, responsible for the novelty of his work:
"I have often pondered over the roles of knowledge or experience, on the one hand, and imagination or intuition, on the other, in the process of discovery. I believe that there is a certain fundamental conflict between the two, and knowledge, by advocating caution, tends to inhibit the flight of imagination. Therefore, a certain naiveté, unburdened by conventional wisdom, can sometimes be a positive asset."
Harish-Chandra worked at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton from 1963. He was appointed IBM von Neumann Professor in 1968.
He died of a heart attack at the end of a week long conference in Princeton, having earlier suffered from three heart attacks.
Harish-Chandra received many awards in his career. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, and a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences. He won the Cole prize from the American Mathematical Society in 1954 for his papers on representations of semisimple Lie algebras and groups, and particularly for his paper [Har51]. In 1974, he received the Srinivasa Ramanujan Medal from the Indian National Science Academy.
- [Dir30] P.A.M. Dirac, Principles of Quantum Mechanics, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1930.
- [Har51] Harish-Chandra, On some applications of the universal enveloping algebra of a semisimple Lie algebra, Trans. Amer. Math. Soc., 37 (1951), 813–818.
- [Lan85] Robert Langlands, Harish-Chandra, Biog. Memoirs of Fellows of the Roy. Soc., 31 (1985), 197–225,
Harish-Chandra Research Institute (HRI) is located in a residential campus on the outskirts of Prayagraj (Allahabad). The HRI library is among the best in the country. The Institute has a good computer network, with a fast connection to the Internet.
The HRI campus is about 66 acres in area, and is situated along the banks of the Ganga, 13 kms. from the centre of Prayagraj (Allahabad). It contains, in addition to the main Institute buildings, residential quarters for almost all the academic members of HRI, and several members of the administration. There is also a Guest House for visitors. The Institute operates a regular bus service between the city and the campus.
Much of the campus is densely wooded, and is home to several species of birds, and to wild animals such as foxes and jackals.
The HRI library contains one of the best collections in the country, in the fields of mathematics and physics. It currently houses over 30,000 documents, and subscribes to about 200 journals.
The library is open on almost all days of the year, from 08:00 to 02:00. Much of the library's operations are automated, and electronic access to several journals is available. The library is avaliable online to users in the HRI network.
The HRI computer network consists of several workstations for special computing, in addition to desktop computers for all users.
The core of the network is the Computer Centre, which houses various servers, workstations, and several desktop computers for general use. File and authentication services are exported from the Computer Centre to a large chunk of the network through NFS and NIS. Apart from the NFS and NIS clients, some users have independent machines that are not clients of the central servers.
The common operating systems used at HRI are Unix clones like GNU/Linux, and Unix-like operating systems such as OpenBSD and FreeBSD. Most software packages, proprietary and open source, that are necessary for research in mathematics and physics, are either already available, or are acquired whenever a member of the Institute requests for it.
The network is connected to the Internet through two independent ISPs. The Institute regularly augments the available bandwidth, as more people join the Institute, and as the network grows.
The High Performance Computing (HPC) facility at HRI Prayagraj (Allahabad) is intended to meet the high end computa$
The HPC facility has 4 serial/distributed memory clusters and 1 QDR parallel cluster with about 100 TB of associate storage. Two additional clusters will be set up during the XII plan period and associated networking and storage facilities enhanced accordingly.
Governing Council (2013-14)
Prof. M. S. Raghunathan (Chairman, Governing Council HRI)
School of Mathematics, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research Homi Bhabha Road, Mumbai - 400 005
Prof. R. Balasubramanian
Director, Institute of Mathematical Sciences CIT Campus, Taramani, Chennai - 600 113
Shri V. R. Sadasivam
Joint Secretary (F) DAE, Govt. of India, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Marg, Mumbai - 400 001
Mr. Pradeep R. Baviskar
Joint Secretary (R & D) DAE, Govt. of India, Anushakti Bhavan, Ch. Shivaji Maharaj Marg, Mumbai - 400 001
Dr. J. N. De
BH-135, Sector-II Salt Lake Kolkata - 700 091
Prof. Narendra Kumar
Raman Research Institute C.V. Raman Avenue, Sadashivanagar Bangalore - 560 080
Prof. H. S. Mani
2, Fourth Cross Street, Durga Colony, Sembakkam Chennai - 600 073
Dr. J. D. Mitra
Director, Higher Education, U.P. Near G.P.O., Civil Lines, Prayagraj (Allahabad) - 211 001
Shri S. L. Mehta
4, Clive Row Kolkata - 700 001
Shri Avnish Mehta
4, Penn Road, Kolkata- 700 027
Mr. Rajnish Mehta
4, Penn Road, Kolkata- 700 027
Prof. Pinaki Majumdar
Director, Harish-Chandra Research Institute (Ex. Officio) Chhatnag Road, Jhunsi, Prayagraj (Allahabad) - 211 019