The MSF was formally registered as a non-profit society in 2002. However, its roots go back several years further and lie in the educational and research activities undertaken by a group of Mathematicians from several institutions, such as University of Delhi, St. Stephen’s College, Indian Institute of Technology and the Indian Statistical Institute. Later, they were joined by some Economics and Physics faculty from St. Stephen’s College.
The early projects were mostly carried out with funding from the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Govt. of India. Notable amongst these was the project titled Mathematics in the Modern World (MMW), which ran from 1995 to 2001, and aimed at showing the applicability of Mathematics in solving real life problems.
The MMW project made extensive use of computers, especially in the form of interactive programs that allow the viewer the opportunity to work his own way through the arguments. It made it possible for the layperson with a modest background in mathematics to understand and appreciate the role played by Mathematics in our everyday lives as well as in disciplines such as Economics, Physics and Computer Science. It enabled faculty and students to engage in interesting applications-oriented research work, which is extremely relevant in industry and in the corporate sector.
This work was presented at the annual meetings of the Indian Science Congress held at Calcutta (1995), Delhi (1996), Hyderabad (1998), Chennai (1999) and at IARI, Delhi (2001) as well as at a science fair held in IIT-Delhi in 2000. (List of projects carried out under MMW)
Funding was also obtained from DST for the following research projects:
- Enumeration of Types of Finite Groups and Associated Topics
- Linear Mappings Associated with Banach Spaces of Functions
In 1998, these varied activities were consolidated into the Centre for Mathematical Sciences (CMS), housed at St. Stephen’s College. In 2000, significant funding was obtained from the ICICI Bank, and the CMS became the ICICI Centre for Mathematical Sciences, or ICMS.
Many innovative programmes were created under the rubric of ICMS. They soon grew to a point where ICMS was no longer sufficient for housing and supporting them. Thus, the MSF was founded in July 2002, with the support of many leading citizens of India (who became its founding members) and with St. Stephen’s College and ICICI Bank as institutional members.
Among its founder office bearers were:
- Director: Professor Dinesh Singh
- Director, University of Delhi, South Campus
- Chairman, Institute of Informatics and Communication, University of Delhi
- Professor, Department of Mathematics, University of Delhi
- Adjunct Professor, Department of Mathematics, University of Houston
- Chairman of the Advisory Council: Mr Naresh Chandra
- Former Cabinet Secretary
- Former Ambassador to the USA
MSF faculty have published widely, in leading journals, on matters of research and education. They have been awarded numerous prizes, awards and distinctions. Prominent among them are:
- Ramaswamy Aiyar Award Lecture of the Indian Mathematical Society
- AMU Prize of the Indian Mathematical Society
- Career Award of the University Grants Commission
- Inlaks Scholarships for doctoral study in the UK
- Invited lectures at conferences such as the national meeting of the American Mathematical Society, a joint meeting of the American Mathematical Society and Indian Academy of Sciences, at meetings of the Indian Mathematical Society and of the Indian Science Congress.
- An Adjunct Professorship at the Dept. of Mathematics, University of Houston
- Visiting appointments/lectures delivered at various universities and institutes in India, USA, Canada, Egypt, Australia and Europe.
Students of MSF programmes have also distinguished themselves, both in higher education as well as in the corporate world.