Presidency College, an arts and science college in the city of Chennai in Tamil Nadu, India established as the Madras Preparatory School on October 15, 1840 during the British East India company rule, is a famous old college.

It was

*Governor of Madras who was instrumental in establishing an educational institution in Madras (now Chennai) and chose*

**Lord Elphinstone,***, MA., C.S.I., a Maths specialist from the University of Cambridge, as its first principal. As the arrival of Mr. Powell from England to Madras got delayed and in his place, one Mr Cooper, from the Hooghly College, Kolkata (Calcutta) carried on his duties. He and his staff opened Presidency School, a preparatory school, in a rented building in Egmore known as*

**Eyre Burton Powell***Edinburgh Home*on 15 October. 1840. Cooper remained in the preparatory school for only a few months. Soon after Powell's arrival, he returned to Calcutta to continue his educational services there. A High School department was opened in April 1841.The preparatory School was moved over to Popham's Broadway in 1841. Later it became Presidency College.

Upon the founding of the University of Madras in 1857, Presidency College got its affiliation, a customary norm for every higher institution. It was in 1870 the college moved to its present location on Kamaraj Salai, opposite Marina Beach.

E. B. Powell, 1st Principal, Presidency College,Madras en.wikipedia.org |

Above image: E. B. Powell -

**Educated at Pembroke College, Cambridge, Eyre Burton Powell CSI (1819 - 10 November 1904) played a critical role in the field of education in the Madras Presidency in various capacities. He was the Director of Public Instruction for the Presidency in 1862 and held the post till 1875. .First principal of the Presidency college, Chennai, he died in November, 1904. He produced a galaxy of bright students and some of them were***C. V. Runganada Sastri*, a well known civil servant,*Sir A. Seshayya Sastr*i, Dewan of Pudukkottai,*Sir T. Madhava Rao*, Dewan of Travancore and Indore and*V. Ramiengar*. Dewan of Travancore ..**............................**

Presidency College. Chennai facebook.com |

Eyre Burton Powell, who was the first principal of Presidency College, about 160 years ago, opened a Maths department with a modest ceremony. It was here the Maths genius of Srinivasa Ramanujan was brought to light to the world of advanced maths science. Till then being very young and hailing from a modest family, Ramanujan was groping in the dark with no guide and mentor . P.V. Seshu Iyer, a well known Maths professor at Government College, Kumbakonam, came to Presidency on transfer and his student, Ramanujan who could not pass the college examination in Kumbakonam, also came to Madras on Iyer's advice.

Unmindful of his failure in academics, Prof, Seshu Iyer gave Ramanujan full support for his original concepts. In 1911, his major work was sent to the Journal of Indian Mathematical Society. It was here between 1910 and 1915 with support from Prof. Iyer and Prof. E.W. Middlemast, Ramanujan tackled the problems in Prof. Hardy's monograph,

*'Orders of Infinity.'*Only persons with exceptional maths skill could handle such problems. On January 16, 1913, the results were sent to Prof. Hardy, English Mathematician of high repute. Prof. G.H. Hardy was known for his achievements in*Number theory*and upon getting the results from Ramanujan, he was taken aback and very much impressed by his original work. What surprised him was Ramanujan had no formal training whatsoever in western type of education with special reference to Maths. Bye the by, Hardy himself was also a child prodigy in Maths, just like Ramanujan, when he was hardly two years old, he had solved complex problems with considerable ease. No help or guidance whatsoever.About Ramanujan's advancement in maths related research, the rest is history. He went to England to work with Prof. Hardy. who enthusiastically adopted and mentored the self-taught Indian mathematical genius. Ramanujan ultimately had the unique distinction of getting FRS, a rare distinction in those days for a person from the Indian subcontinent. It is estimated that Ramanujan conjectured or proved over 3,000 theorems, identities and equations, properties of highly composite numbers, the partition function, etc, He identified several efficient and rapidly converging infinite series for the calculation of the value of Ï€ and they 've become basis for the fastest algorithms used by modern computers to compute Ï€ to ever increasing levels. A maths genius was discovered and Presidency college and the then honest and dedicated teachers provided him a unique opportunity.

His vegetarian diet coupled with poor eating habits and London's inclement winter weather impacted his health and forced him to return to Kumbakonam,Tamil Nadu where he died at a young age of 32. In the realm of maths Ramanujan has left behind countless unsolved maths puzzles and the research will continue on them for an eternity.

Above images: Maths genus Ramanujan's home in the temple city Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu. Top: Earliest home where Ramanujan lived from his birth (22.12.1887) till he left for Madras City (Chennai), in 1905.

Bottom: SASTRA, a Deemed University, Thanjavur.& Kumbakonam acquired it in March 2002. Later it was declared as an international monument by the late Indian president

The department of Mathematics, Madra University produced lots of talents over a period of time. Decades later it became The Institute of Mathematical Sciences in January, 1962 and after a couple of years it moved over to the present location in Taramani.

*Dr. Abdul Kalam*. The Ramajuan center at Sastra university and this house in Kumbakonam are the legacy of the maths genius. That the state government since 1940s has done nothing to honor Ramanujan, the son of this soil is a deplorable fact. I am happy SASTRA is keeping Ramanujan's legacy alive by naming its center at Kumbakonam after him....**.........................**The department of Mathematics, Madra University produced lots of talents over a period of time. Decades later it became The Institute of Mathematical Sciences in January, 1962 and after a couple of years it moved over to the present location in Taramani.

**Among the numerous well known old students, the following are worthy of mention:**G.H.Hardy and S. Ramanujan. .storyofmathematics.com |

**, FRS, Maths genius***Srinivasa Ramanujan**first Commander-in-Chief of Defence Forces of independent India,***K. M. Cariappa,***- Nobel laureate in Physics,***Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar***Legal luminary and Dewan of Travancore, Vice Chancellor of Annamalai univ. and Banarus Hindu University.***C. P. Ramaswamy Iyer,***Chief Minister of Madras***C. Rajagopalachari,****Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman**, Nobel laureate in Physics.In his, “Men of Mathematics”,

E. T. Bell in his,

*,writes of Ramanujan:***“Men of Mathematics”***“When a truly great one like the Hindu Ramanujam arrives unexpectedly out of nowhere, even expert analysts hail him as a gift from heaven: his all but supernatural insight into apparently unrelated formulas reveals hidden trails leading from one territory into another, and the analysts have new tasks provided for them in clearing the trails."*Ramanujan’s birth anniversary comes every year on December 22. It was in 2012 that then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declared December 22 as National Mathematics Day.

(Revised on April 20, 2023)