Somashekhar Naimpally

Calcutta, 31/08/1931

For Lakehead University Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, Somashekhar (Som) Naimpally, Mathematics is his passion and Music is his companion.

Soon after his Ph.D. at Michigan State University he was offered a job at University of Alberta, Edmonton, where he moved with his family in 1965. In the first two years, Som and his colleague Mangesh Murdeshwar wrote a book called "Quasi uniform Topological spaces" and was published in Holland. As he was taking a break, some representatives from Cambridge University Press wandered in and asked him if he would be interested in writing a book on the subject he was presently teaching. Som was not interested at that moment but eventually did write it in 1968 and was published in 1970 in the series Cambridge Tracts in Mathematics, UK.

Further requests for books could not be accepted, as he was too busy writing papers and presenting them at conferences all over the world. But after retirement he decided to write a book combining all his research of 45 years. As he started to write, he thought of many new topics he could write on and he collaborated with others on this. He also translated Bhaskaracharya's "Leelavati" from Marathi into English with another colleague from India.

For the last two years Som has been busy all day listening to music and writing a book called "Proximity Approach to Problems in Topology and Analysis". On his 77th birthday, in August last year he received good news that a book he had been working on for the past two years would be published by Oldenbourg, Germany, in January.

Earlier book by Naimpally entitled Proximity Spaces, which was first published in 1970 by Cambridge University Press, has been reprinted and is available from Cambridge University Press. This book provides a compact introduction to the theory of proximity spaces and their generalizations, making the subject accessible to readers having a basic knowledge of topological and uniform spaces, such as can be found in standard textbooks.

Naimpallys made Ontario their home in 1971. His wife Sudha studied occupational therapy in Edmonton and worked in hospitals in Thunder Bay; she has composed poems in English and bhajans in Hindi which she sings accompanying herself on harmonium. Elder son Shiv is a patent attorney and a tabla player, younger son Ravi is also a tabla player and founder-director of the renowned World Music ensemble-TASA and daughter, Anu is an accomplished Bharatanatyam dancer.

Proximity Approach to Problems in Topology and Analysis is a book on the Concept of Near and Far A Concept both Simple and Profound. It contains research introduced about 100 years ago by the well-known Hungarian mathematician Frederick Riesz on the concept of “Near and Far”— a concept so simple that even those not in mathematics can understand it, and so profound that it unifies and simplifies many results scattered in the literature.

According to Naimpally, "Near and Far is one of the rare concepts in the whole of Mathematics that is at once intuitive, and which can be made rigorous with little, or practically no effort. Mathematicians from all over the world have worked on this topic because the problems are interesting, challenging, and beautiful”.

Naimpally is in good company in viewing the subject of Mathematics with some degree of reverence. Sixteenth century physicist, astronomer, and mathematician Galileo Galilei is reported to have said, "Mathematics is the language with which God wrote the universe," and 20th century philosopher Bertrand Russell believed that Mathematics possesses not only truth, but “supreme beauty”.

“The book is a culmination of my lifelong research in Mathematics. I am especially excited that some of my results have been used to explain a paper on general relativity by the famous physicist Steven Hawking.”

Soon after his Ph.D. at Michigan State University he was offered a job at University of Alberta, Edmonton, where he moved with his family in 1965. In the first two years, Som and his colleague Mangesh Murdeshwar wrote a book called "Quasi uniform Topological spaces" and was published in Holland. As he was taking a break, some representatives from Cambridge University Press wandered in and asked him if he would be interested in writing a book on the subject he was presently teaching. Som was not interested at that moment but eventually did write it in 1968 and was published in 1970 in the series Cambridge Tracts in Mathematics, UK.

Further requests for books could not be accepted, as he was too busy writing papers and presenting them at conferences all over the world. But after retirement he decided to write a book combining all his research of 45 years. As he started to write, he thought of many new topics he could write on and he collaborated with others on this. He also translated Bhaskaracharya's "Leelavati" from Marathi into English with another colleague from India.

For the last two years Som has been busy all day listening to music and writing a book called "Proximity Approach to Problems in Topology and Analysis". On his 77th birthday, in August last year he received good news that a book he had been working on for the past two years would be published by Oldenbourg, Germany, in January.

Earlier book by Naimpally entitled Proximity Spaces, which was first published in 1970 by Cambridge University Press, has been reprinted and is available from Cambridge University Press. This book provides a compact introduction to the theory of proximity spaces and their generalizations, making the subject accessible to readers having a basic knowledge of topological and uniform spaces, such as can be found in standard textbooks.

Naimpallys made Ontario their home in 1971. His wife Sudha studied occupational therapy in Edmonton and worked in hospitals in Thunder Bay; she has composed poems in English and bhajans in Hindi which she sings accompanying herself on harmonium. Elder son Shiv is a patent attorney and a tabla player, younger son Ravi is also a tabla player and founder-director of the renowned World Music ensemble-TASA and daughter, Anu is an accomplished Bharatanatyam dancer.

Proximity Approach to Problems in Topology and Analysis is a book on the Concept of Near and Far A Concept both Simple and Profound. It contains research introduced about 100 years ago by the well-known Hungarian mathematician Frederick Riesz on the concept of “Near and Far”— a concept so simple that even those not in mathematics can understand it, and so profound that it unifies and simplifies many results scattered in the literature.

According to Naimpally, "Near and Far is one of the rare concepts in the whole of Mathematics that is at once intuitive, and which can be made rigorous with little, or practically no effort. Mathematicians from all over the world have worked on this topic because the problems are interesting, challenging, and beautiful”.

Naimpally is in good company in viewing the subject of Mathematics with some degree of reverence. Sixteenth century physicist, astronomer, and mathematician Galileo Galilei is reported to have said, "Mathematics is the language with which God wrote the universe," and 20th century philosopher Bertrand Russell believed that Mathematics possesses not only truth, but “supreme beauty”.

“The book is a culmination of my lifelong research in Mathematics. I am especially excited that some of my results have been used to explain a paper on general relativity by the famous physicist Steven Hawking.”

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