Published: 27th May 2017
Even Polio couldn't stop this mathemagician from NIT Calicut from standing tall
Krishnan Paramasivam is a Maths prof with a plan. Despite facing the most complex of problems — in books, on classroom boards and in life — he’s taken it all in his stride and is making a mark
There are very few people who can genuinely say that they like Mathematics. Krishnan Paramasivam, who now works at NIT-Calicut, is among that number. Ironically, when he was in school there were times when he flunked his Maths paper, not because the equations did him in — but because he would try arriving at the answer using different equations and methods.
The much-feted researcher and professor got chatting with us about how he tided over a polio attack to become the academic that he is.
What was it like at IIT-Madras?
It is a dream campus for each student who wants to pursue a technical education. Some of my best memories are associated with that campus. The first one is when I saw the mail that I got selected to present my paper at the 25th Kolloquium uber Kombinatorik at University of Magdeburg, Germany and I got to meet my dream teacher Prof R Diesel. The second one is the day I received my PhD degree from IIT-Madras.
You were struck down with polio. Did you want to quit?
I never felt like I suffered because of polio. I took it positively. It affected one of my legs so I wasn’t able to run like others, but it couldn’t stop my brain from running towards my goal. I never felt alone as my friends in IIT supported me throughout. That’s why being affected by polio was not a bad experience at all.
I would also like to share one incident — while I was suffering from polio I went to 3 or 4 car driving institutes and asked them whether I can still drive a car. All they said was that it would be impossible to drive any car because of my crippled leg.
But I had dreamt of driving a car for a long time. I didn’t give up. Then after a few days, I finally bought a car with an automatic transmission. I practised with the help of my friends until I started driving. Faith, self-confidence and hard work can ensure your dreams don’t get derailed in life. Always look ahead.
What is your research on graph theory based on?
I have done my research work in zero-divisor graph of commutative ring in the area of algebraic graph theory. It went quite well and as a result, I have published 5 research articles during my PhD in national and international scientific journals.
Also, I have presented my research work in 5 national level and 6 international level conferences/symposiums/workshops in India as well as abroad.
Not many people would choose mathematics as their primary field of study? Is there a back story to your choice?
Mathematics is (arguably) the most logical thing ever. Thinking hard and fast is rewarded with the clearest, most beautiful, insightful and clever conclusions. Most of the time I think differently.
I like mathematics because it asks you to find the unknown with the help of a set of simple elementary facts. How you organise or manipulate those simple facts matters.
Krishnan Paramasivam Professor, NIT- Calicut
If there is a set of reasons written for a certain theorem, then I quickly try alternative ways. I do this over and over several times and sometimes I manage to find a shorter solution to the problem. But there were many times I failed my Maths half-yearly exam in XII standard because I tried different methods on the answer sheet to solve problems.