Sakhya Series: A, Volume: 35, Part: 4, suppl. Page No.: 1--2 Year: 1973
The difference in age was not much -- Prasanta was only 6 or 7 months older but we got acquainted when, after completing our educational apprenticeship, we had started our professional career in whatever we selected as the most coveted in life. Nationalism was in full swing. In the year we passed out, almost all, who got the hallmark of the University as meritorious students, rushed to the laboratory of Acharya Jagadish Bose or to the laboratory of Acharya Ray. We induced Sir Ashutosh to agree to have post-graduate classes in the Science College although at the time of the first world war it was almost impossible to import any instruments from abroad. We searched out places where expensive instruments were lying idle. Sir Ashutosh arranged to collect them all for us and the young men stepped into new work with great zeal.
Mahalanobis Centennial, Current Science, Volume. 65, No. I. 10 July, Year: 1993 (with due permission from Current Science Association)
Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis (1893-1972) was born in a well-known family of Brahmos (a protestant theist movement within the fold of Hinduism) in Calcutta and had his early education in Brahmo Boys' School. After earning a BSc with honors in physics in 1912 from Presidency College, Calcutta, he went to Cambridge, where he took part I of the mathematics tripos in 1914 and part II of the physics tripos in 1915. Awarded a senior scholarship by King's College, Cambridge, he intended to work with the physicist C. T. R. Wilson at the Cavendish Laboratory, but upon returning to India for a short vacation he found so much to hold his interest that he remained there. Shortly after his return, Mahalanobis fell in love with the 16-year-old Nirmalkumari (or Rani as she is popularly known), and they were married in 1923.
Prof. P. C. Mahalanobis, the eminent statistician, recalls the days of his friendship With Ramanujan in England
I joined King‘s College, Cambridge, in October 1913. I was attending some mathematical courses at that time including one by Professor Hardy. A little later, we heard that S. Ramanujan, the mathematical prodigy, would come to Cambridge. I used to do my tutorial work with Mr Arthur Berry, Tutor in Mathematics of King’s College. One day I was waiting in his room for my tutorial when he came in after having taken a class in elliptic integrals. He asked me: ‘Have you met your wonderful countryman, Ramanujan?’ I told him that I had heard that he had arrived but I had not met him so far. Mr Berry said: ‘He came to my elliptic integrals class this morning.’ (This was some time after the full term had begun, and I knew Mr Berry had already given a few lectures on that subject.) I asked, ‘What happened? Did he follow your lecture?' Mr Berry said, ‘I was working out same formula: at the black board. I was looking at Ramanujan from time to time to see whether he was following what I was doing, At one stage, Ramanujan's face was beaming and he appeared tn be excited; I asked him whether he was following the lecture and Ramanujan nodded his head. I then enquired whether he would like to say anything. He then get up from his seat went to the black board and wrote some at the results which I had not yet proved'. I remember Mr Berry was greatly impressed. He said that Ramanujan must have reached those results by pure intuition as Professor Hardy had advised Ramanujan to attend the lectures on elliptic integrals because Ramanujan had not studied that subject before.
What began as a small room in the Presidency College in 1931, now comprises buildings on several acres of land in four major cities (Calcutta, New Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad)! What began with a total annual expenditure of less than Rs. 250 in 1931, now has a total annual expenditure of over Rs. 15,000,000! What began in 1931 with a solitary human 'computer' working part-time, now comprises over 250 faculty members and over 1,000 supporting staff and several modern-day personal computers, workstations, minicomputers, supermini computers and mainframe computers! Impressive as these figures are, they convey little idea of the road traversed, the range of activities undertaken and the intimate relationship of the Institute with the life of the nation.