Harish-Chandra Mehrotra
Born(1923-10-11)11 October 1923
Died16 October 1983(1983-10-16) (aged 60)
CitizenshipUnited States[2]
Alma materUniversity of Allahabad
University of Cambridge
Known for
AwardsFellow of the Royal Society[1]
Cole Prize in Algebra (1954)
Srinivasa Ramanujan Medal
Scientific career
FieldsMathematics, Physics

Harish-Chandra Mehrotra FRS[1][3] (11 October 1923 – 16 October 1983) was an Indian-American mathematician and physicist who did fundamental work in representation theory, especially harmonic analysis on semisimple Lie groups.[4][5][6]

Early life

Harish-Chandra Mehrotra was born in Kanpur.[7] He was educated at B.N.S.D. College, Kanpur and at the University of Allahabad.[8] After receiving his master's degree in physics in 1940, he moved to the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore for further studies under Homi J. Bhabha.[citation needed]

In 1945, he moved to University of Cambridge, and worked as a research student under Paul Dirac.[8] While at Cambridge, he attended lectures by Wolfgang Pauli, and during one of them, Mehrotra pointed out a mistake in Pauli's work. The two became lifelong friends. During this time he became increasingly interested in mathematics. He obtained his PhD, Infinite Irreducible Representations of the Lorentz Group, at Cambridge in 1947 under Dirac.[4]

Honors and awards

He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society.[1] He was the recipient of the Cole Prize of the American Mathematical Society, in 1954. The Indian National Science Academy honoured him with the Srinivasa Ramanujan Medal in 1974. In 1981, he received an honorary degree from Yale University.[citation needed]

The mathematics department of V.S.S.D. College, Kanpur celebrates his birthday every year in different forms, which includes lectures from students and professors from various colleges, institutes and students' visit to Harish-Chandra Research Institute.[citation needed]

The Indian Government named the Harish-Chandra Research Institute, an institute dedicated to Theoretical Physics and Mathematics, after him.

Robert Langlands wrote in a biographical article of Harish-Chandra:

He was considered for the Fields Medal in 1958, but a forceful member of the selection committee in whose eyes Thom was a Bourbakist was determined not to have two. So Harish-Chandra, whom he also placed on the Bourbaki camp, was set aside.

He was also a recipient of the Padma Bhushan in 1977.[9]


Starting in 1969, Mehrotra began to experience heart attacks. A second and third heart attack occurred in 1970 and 1982, respectively. From then, his physical capabilities began to decline. A fourth heart attack occurred in 1983, leaving him mostly bedridden and in isolation. On the day after a conference organized for him and mathematician Armand Borel took place, Mehrotra died from his final heart attack.[10]


  1. ^ a b c Langlands, Robert P. (1985). "Harish-Chandra. 11 October 1923 – 16 October 1983". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 31: 198–225. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1985.0008. JSTOR 769925.
  2. ^ A Biographical Memoir
  3. ^ Agarwal, Ravi P.; Sen, Syamal K. (11 November 2014). Creators of Mathematical and Computational Sciences. Springer. ISBN 978-3-319-10870-4.
  4. ^ a b Harish-Chandra at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  5. ^ O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Harish-Chandra", MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive, University of St Andrews
  6. ^ Varadarajan, V. S. (1984). "Harish-Chandra (1923–1983)". The Mathematical Intelligencer. 6 (3): 9–13. doi:10.1007/BF03024122. S2CID 122014700.
  7. ^ "Brief history of Harish-Chandra".
  8. ^ a b "Harish-Chandra - Biography".
  9. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  10. ^ A Biographical Memoir