“We shall show that a diagonalizable matrix can exponentiated but first things first”. Prof. Pattanayak began the lecture on Lie groups in his trademark quirky style. This was our fifth semester at Institute of Mathematics and Applications, Bhubaneswar. Prof. Swadhin Pattanayak, the founding father of the institute (and its first director as well), is the lone flag bearer of mathematics in Odisha (our state). He almost single handedly brought a revolution by popularizing the very discipline of science in every nook and corner of the state. He turns 80 today, more than half of which has been spent towards uplifting the lives of many like us. This is our tribute to him, or at least, an attempt at it.
The first time we met Prof. Pattanayak was way back in 2011, when we had joined the undergraduate program in mathematics and computing in IMA. His doors were always open, symbolic of the ‘no knock’ policy. We remember going to his house, and spending entire evenings talking about math. He gave us many lessons on life and math alike. As young impressionable men, we were lucky that we had someone so remarkable as him to look up to and continue to do so till date.
He had been our mentor, guiding us along the way, standing by our side like a rock; an immovable source of strength upon whom all of us relied for everything. He showed us the path, we walked upon it. After completing our masters, it was his words ‘travel west, learn from them, come back and inspire the east’ which gave us the wings to fly abroad for our PhD and Postdoc degrees. A man of his position has many responsibilities to discharge and yet, he finds time to enquire about our well-being every once in a while.
The Upanishads proclaim that the entire universe rests upon the shoulders of a teacher. He has stood tall like a giant Oak-tree, withering storms and droughts alike. The tree has contributed to an entire forest now. We are all part of it. As he turns ‘eighty’, we wish him best of health. May he continue to grow and enrich more lives like he had done for so many years.
If in our lifetimes, we achieve and be a fraction of what he is, we would consider our lives well lived.
We offer him our humble salutations and rest our pens.
This post has been written by Tattwamasi Amrutam, Pratyush Kumar Mishra, Pratik Misra and Prayagdeep Parija. This post is dedicated to Prof. Swadhin Pattanayak (Swadhin Sir) on his 80th birthday.