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Tragic Story Of A Forgotten Mathematics Genius

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A media report about legendary Mathematician Dr Vashishtha Nararayan Singh living in penury raised a few questions about the treatment of academia in the country. The story of this great mathematician, who is claimed to have challenged Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, is nothing short of a tragedy. Dr Singh, who has a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, is a schizophrenia patient and lives in complete desertation.

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Dr Vashishtha Narayan Singh was born on 2nd April 1942, in a small village in Bihar. After completing his secondary education, he was admitted to the prestigious Science College to pursue further studies. His extra-ordinary talent got recognized when he was allowed by Patna University to appear in the final exam two-year course of B.Sc in his very first year.

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He then went to USA to complete his PhD in year 1969 from University of California under the supervision of Prof John L. Kelley. His PhD dissertation title was “Reproducing Kernels and Operators with a Cyclic Vector“. Dr Singh then got a lucrative and prestigious assignment with NASA. However, he returned to India and taught in various prestigious institutes which include IIT Kanpur, TIFR Mumbai and ISI Kolkata.

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Things had been going smoothly when a mental ailment got the better of him forcing him to land up in a mental hospital, the Central Institute of Psychiatry (CIP), Kanke, sometime in Ranchi 1980-81. He was diagnosed to be suffering from Schizophrenia. His situation worsened drastically with time. He then disappeared in 1988 only to be found in Siwan in 1992.

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Dr Singh is currently being treated for his illness in Patna. The mathematics wizard who was once thought to outshine the world, now lives in complete anonymity.

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