Love for math is not gender-specific, says Ramanujan Award winner – Times of India

Nina Gupta, Professor of Mathematics, Indian Institute of Statistics (ISI), Kolkata, has recently been declared the winner of DST-ICTP-IMU Ramanujan Award 2021 for young mathematicians from developing countries.

At the age of 37, Nina is the third woman and the second Indian woman to receive this honor He is the fourth Indian mathematician to be awarded the title since its inception in 2005.



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Not an easy journey

“As a Marwari, born and raised in Calcutta, my family and I often break the cultural protocol for a career in mathematics,” he says.


During her BSc (Mathematics) days at Bethune College, Calcutta University, an all-girls college, Gupta realized her love for the subject. While doing his M (Mathematics) from ISI, he understood the overall nature of the subject.

“I got 91% in BSc, which I discovered later which made me proud to be a topper. Professors and colleagues led me to participate in the ISI Entrance Test for the Masters course, “he says.

The course structure for the entrance exam has thrown Gupta away. “Looking back, I can say that there were very few girls for the same course, but at the time, it didn’t bother me,” she says.


Early days

Concentrating on achieving excellence, Nina is the only daughter of her seven-year postgraduate batch. “There are many factors that make the journey between admission and passing from ISI interesting. It also involves the inability to adapt to course requirements. ISI also has a policy where if a student fails in the first year, he / she will be given a chance to be released through a back paper. If the student fails, he will be asked to leave. That way, the pressure to excel is high, “he says.

“Apart from the cultural problem of being the only girl in my batch, I took some time to grasp the requirements of the course at ISI, but I was finally able to realize how beautiful and huge the subject is,” added Nina, a variable algebra expert.

Doing a PhD was a normal next step, but the deadline has put her family in trouble, she says. “I completed my PhD in mathematics in three and a half years at the age of 27,” he says.


Girls and math

Social perception is the main culprit behind the low number of girls pursuing higher education in mathematics. “This problem is prevalent worldwide, where mathematics is considered a male-dominated subject and girls are discouraged or ridiculed for trying to master math. Fortunately, the situation is better now, “he says.

Gupta does not believe that girls have a complicated relationship with Math. “Complete dedication is a prerequisite for becoming a subject matter expert. Multiple responsibilities can distract girls, but those who solve and explore mathematical problems with a single focus go beyond such problems. I got married at the age of 30, but family support made all the difference, ”she says.

Although the ratio of girls to boys in the M (Maths) course at ISI has improved somewhat, there are currently no girls in the 2021 batch. At the same time, Gupta is advising two PhD students, both of whom are girls and Gupta has been praised for their hard work and dedication.

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