Harish-Chandra FRS[2] (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.[3][4][5]

Born(1923-10-11)11 October 1923
Died16 October 1983(1983-10-16) (aged 60)
CitizenshipUnited States[1]
Alma materUniversity of Allahabad
University of Cambridge
Known forHarish-Chandra's c-function
Harish-Chandra's character formula
Harish-Chandra homomorphism
Harish-Chandra isomorphism
Harish-Chandra module
Harish-Chandra's regularity theorem
Harish-Chandra's Schwartz space
Harish-Chandra transform
Harish-Chandra's Ξ function
AwardsFellow of the Royal Society[2]
Cole Prize in Algebra (1954)
Srinivasa Ramanujan Medal
Scientific career
FieldsMathematics, Physics
InstitutionsIndian Institute of Science
Harvard University
Columbia University
Tata Institute of Fundamental Research
Institute for Advanced Study
Doctoral advisorPaul Dirac

Early lifeEdit

Harish-Chandra was born in Kanpur.[6] He was educated at B.N.S.D. College, Kanpur and at the University of Allahabad.[7] After receiving his master's degree in Physics in 1943, he moved to the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore for further studies under Homi J. Bhabha.

In 1945, he moved to University of Cambridge, and worked as a research student under Paul Dirac.[7] While at Cambridge, he attended lectures by Wolfgang Pauli, and during one of them pointed out a mistake in Pauli's work. The two were to become lifelong friends. During this time he became increasingly interested in mathematics. At Cambridge he obtained his PhD in 1947.

Honors and awardsEdit

He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society.[2] 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.

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.

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.[8]


  1. ^ A Biographical Memoir
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ Harish-Chandra at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  4. ^ O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Harish-Chandra", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews
  5. ^ Varadarajan, V. S. (1984). "Harish-Chandra (1923–1983)". The Mathematical Intelligencer. 6 (3): 9–13. doi:10.1007/BF03024122. S2CID 122014700.
  6. ^ "Brief history of Harish-Chandra".
  7. ^ a b "Harish-Chandra - Biography".
  8. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.


  • Harish-Chandra (1968), Mars, J. G. M. (ed.), Automorphic forms on semisimple Lie groups, Lecture Notes in Mathematics, vol. 62, Berlin, New York: Springer-Verlag, doi:10.1007/BFb0098434, ISBN 978-3-540-04232-7, MR 0232893
  • Harish-Chandra (1970), Dijk, G. van (ed.), Harmonic analysis on reductive p-adic groups, Lecture Notes in Mathematics, vol. 162, Berlin, New York: Springer-Verlag, doi:10.1007/BFb0061269, ISBN 978-3-540-05189-3, MR 0414797
  • Harish-Chandra (1984), Varadarajan, V. S. (ed.), Collected papers. Vol. I. 1944–1954., Berlin, New York: Springer-Verlag, ISBN 978-0-387-90782-6, MR 0726025
  • Harish-Chandra (1984), Varadarajan, V. S. (ed.), Collected papers. Vol. II 1955–1958., Berlin, New York: Springer-Verlag, ISBN 978-0-387-90782-6, MR 0726025
  • Harish-Chandra (1984), Varadarajan, V. S. (ed.), Collected papers. Vol. III 1959–1968., Berlin, New York: Springer-Verlag, ISBN 978-0-387-90782-6, MR 0726025
  • Harish-Chandra (1984), Varadarajan, V. S. (ed.), Collected papers. Vol. IV 1970–1983., Berlin, New York: Springer-Verlag, ISBN 978-0-387-90782-6, MR 0726025
  • Harish-Chandra (1999), DeBacker, Stephen; Sally, Paul J. (eds.), Admissible invariant distributions on reductive p-adic groups, University Lecture Series, vol. 16, Providence, R.I.: American Mathematical Society, doi:10.1090/ulect/016, ISBN 978-0-8218-2025-4, MR 1702257


  • Doran, Robert S.; Varadarajan, V. S., eds. (2000), "The mathematical legacy of Harish-Chandra", Proceedings of the AMS Special Session on Representation Theory and Noncommutative Harmonic Analysis, held in memory of Harish-Chandra on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of his birth, in Baltimore, MD, January 9–10, 1998, Proceedings of Symposia in Pure Mathematics, vol. 68, Providence, R.I.: American Mathematical Society, pp. xii+551, doi:10.1090/pspum/068, ISBN 978-0-8218-1197-9, MR 1767886
  • Srivastava, R. S. L. (1986), "About Harish Chandra", Gaṇita Bhãrati. Indian Society for History of Mathematics. Bulletin, 8 (1): 42–43, ISSN 0970-0307, MR 0888666
  • Varadarajan, V. S. (2008), "Harish-Chandra", Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography

External linksEdit

  •   Quotations related to Harish-Chandra at Wikiquote
  • Biography by Roger Howe