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Born: 25 April 1897 in Delhi, India

Died: 14 December 1981

Ram Behari received his Ph.D. in 1932 and his Sc.D. in 1945 at the University of Dublin (Ireland). He made important contributions to the theory of ruled surfaces and rectilinear congruences, Riemannian spaces and generalized Riemannian spaces, complex manifolds, and Einstein's unified field theory. He is considered to be the father of differential geometry in India. In 1942 he delivered a series of extension Lectures on the differential geometry of ruled surfaces in three-dimensional Euclidean at the University of Lucknow. Based on these lectures he produced the book Differential Geometry of Ruled Surfaces, a standard reference for anyone interested in the classical theory of surfaces.

Ram Behari was Professor and Head of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Delhi; Founding Director of Correspondence Courses at University of Delhi; and Vice-Chancellor at the University of Jodhpur. In particular, he was the first head of the Department of Mathematics at Delhi University when the post-graduate department was set up in 1947. Behari can be credited with having started the tradition of research in differential geometry, one of the first disciplines in pure mathematics to have been pursued in the department. He guided a number of research scholars and established the high standards of teaching in the department. During his tenure, in 1957, the department also initiated an M.A./M.Sc. program in Mathematical Statistics and the department was redesignated the Department of Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics.

To honor Behari's work at the University of Delhi, a Ram Behari Medal is awarded to the candidate who secures the highest percentage of marks amongst the successful candidates at the M.A./M.Sc. Examination in Mathematics obtaining first division.

Behari was secretary of the Indian Mathematical Society in the years 1936-43, treasurer in 1947-53, President in 1953-1957; Fellow, Indian Academy of Sciences and Indian National Academy of Sciences (INSa); President of theCalcutta Mathematical Society, Barath Ganit Parishad, Academy for Progress of Mathematics, and Society of Mathematical Sciences; and Member of the INSA Council (1961-1963). He received the Uttar Pradesh Education Minister's Gold Medal (1943), the Distinguished Service Award from the Mathematical Association of India (1967).

Behari attended many national and international conferences; in particular, he was President of the Mathematics Section at the Indian Science Congress and chairman of the Differential Geometry Section at the International Congress of Mathematicians. He was a member of IMU (International Mathematical Union) and an officer of the Executive Committee of ICMI (International commission on Mathematical Instruction).

The election of Behari as an officer of ICMI is a milestone in the history of the Commission. In the meeting held in La Haye (September 1, 1954), the general assembly of IMU decided that the composition of ICMI has to be renewed starting on 1 January 1955. This assembly appointed 10 "free" members, among them Behari. In the Geneva meeting (July 2, 1955), Behari, not present, was elected a member of the Executive Committee of ICMI for the period 1955-1958 with 19 votes. Heinrich Behnke (Germany) was the President of ICMI at the time. Behari was the first member to come from outside Western Europe and North America; his presence fostered promotion of the connections between India and the ICMI. In the program of ICMI activities for the period 1955-1958, the third point was the announcement of a conference on the teaching of sciences to be held in Bombay in February 1956. The Indian sub-committee requested that the national reports on the teaching of mathematics in the various countries be sent to Behari (at that time professor and head of the mathematics department at the University of Delhi). In subsequent meetings the committee again invited the national sub-committees to send their reports to Behari (after some time, they were sent to Komaravolu S. Chandrasekharan). The Indian sub-committee was invited to send delegates to the countries to study the problem in practice. A letter of invitation was sent by President Behnke to the Indian colleagues. Marshall Stone, president of IMU in the years 1952-1954, was designated as the ICMI delegate to the Indian Congress held in Bombay.

COMMIssION INTERNATIONALE DE L'ENSEIGNEMENT MATHéMATIQUE L'Enseignement Mathématique, 40, 1951-1954, 72-93.

COMMIssION INTERNATIONALE DE L'ENSEIGNEMENT MATHéMATIQUE L'Enseignement Mathématique, s. 2, 1, 1955, 193-202.

COMMIssION INTERNATIONALE DE L'ENSEIGNEMENT MATHéMATIQUE Lettre circulaire du bureau de la Commission Internationale de l'Enseignement Mathématique aux dirigéants des sous-commissions nationales, L'Enseignement Mathématique, s. 2, 1, 1955, 262-264.

COMMIssION INTERNATIONALE DE L'ENSEIGNEMENT MATHéMATIQUE Lettre circulaire du bureau de la Commission Internationale de l'Enseignement Mathématique aux dirigéants des sous-commissions nationales, L'Enseignement Mathématique, s. 2, 2, 1956, 314-323.

J. DECICCO Review: Ram Behari, The differential geometry of ruled surfaces, Bull. Amer. Math. Soc., 55 (3), Part 1, 1949, 313-315.

INDIAN NATIONAL SCIENCE ACADEMY. Fellows of the Indian National Science Academy, 1935-1993. Biographical notes, 2, 1993, 654-655.

Indian mathematical society

Department of Mathematics of Delhi University

Indian National science Academy

Lucknow University

Jodhpur University

D. P. AGRAWAL, R. BEHARI, B. V. SUBBARAYAPPA Al-Bõrønõ: An Introduction to his Life and Writings on the Indian Sciences, Indian Journal of History of Science, 10(2), 1975, 98-110.

R. BEHARI, The Differential Geometry of Ruled Surfaces, Lucknow University Studies, 18, Lucknow University 1946.

R. BEHARI A theorem on normal rectilinear congruences, In Proceedings of the Indian Academy of Science, Section A, 12, 1940, 205-207.

R. BEHARI, Aryabhata as a Mathematician, Indian Journal of History of Science, 12(2), 1977, 147-49.

R. BEHARI, B. S. JAIN Some Mathematical Contributions of Ancient Indian Mathematicians as given in the Works of Bhåskaråcårya II (12th Cent. A.D.) , 12(1), 1977, 45-56.

Author

Fulvia Furinghetti

Department of Mathematics

University of Genova - ITALY

furinghe@dima.unige.it