In The Man Who Knew Infinity, Robert Kanigel wrote that Ramanujan can be “invoked as model, inspiration, warning or instructive case history.” Indeed, Ramanujan’s life is a poignant reminder of the untold diamonds in the rough that are lost due to various issues that plague our education system.
Easy access to quality mathematical content is a losing battle fought by many in India even today. Journals quench the curiosity of postgraduate degree holders and researchers in mathematics. Several magazines cater almost exclusively to school-level, and occasionally, college mathematics. This has left a yawning gap in mathematical coverage and exposition, where precious little content is available as a bridge between ideas presented in a pedagogical mathematics textbook and results published in a journal.
It is precisely here that Bhāvanā steps in. It was founded as a part of the vision of TIMC, a consortium of several mathematics organizations in India, guided by an Advisory Committee of eminent mathematicians from India and abroad. TIMC’s larger mission is to unleash India’s latent mathematical talent. Bhāvanā is an integral part of this mission, with a dedicated and driven team of editors working to provide content that serves the varying needs of aspiring, practicing and hobbyist mathematicians alike.
In a mathematical world that is increasingly loaded with research journals that publish articles fewer and fewer people read, Bhāvanā is a badly needed idea. To give an example, one might have heard that Ramanujan’s work in number theory also enlightens us about the thermodynamics of black holes. What are the inner workings of the mathematical ideas that make such a connection possible? By working with contributions from mathematicians, our editorial team shall provide widely readable expositions on topics that otherwise live only in the world of research journals.
Bhāvanā seeks to address another issue that often faces students—how does an individual idea, or a particular theorem, fit into a bigger jigsaw puzzle comprising equally hazily understood parts? Historical articles provide a perspective on such questions by documenting the origins of these ideas and their creators, and wherever possible, interviewing key figures in their development. However, this is not the only history that Bhāvanā seeks to document.
Roddam Narasimha, a noted scientist and Padma Vibhushan awardee, has said that
This is a mission that Bhāvanā is uniquely suited to carry forward, due to its editorial process of anonymous peer review by historians and mathematicians, to ensure that every mathematical and historical claim in its articles is thoroughly vetted.
Through 2017, Bhāvanā will carry thematic issues that explore the connections between mathematics and engineering, physics, statistics and computer science. In doing so, Bhāvanā will bring together mathematics and its allied areas under a single publication. In due course, we would like to see that Bhāvanā appears in other Indian languages too.
All of this makes the ambit and ambition of Bhāvanā unprecedented in India. On behalf of the vast student population of India, and the entire Indian mathematics community, we need your help in a big way. We humbly solicit donations, of at least ₹ 1000, from both interested individuals and organizations to meet our rather demanding recurring expenses. For more details on how to support and contribute to Bhāvanā, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.