Professor R.K. Jain

(June 21, 1936 - January 21, 2015)

Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur


Professor R.K. Jain joined IIT Kanpur in the year 1963, and started teaching in July of that year. This was a time when IIT Kanpur needed to grow up as an Institute and Prof. Jain among others, had an important role to play.

His own research centered around Applied Mathematics, but for him Mathematics was always a whole. He taught a variety of courses as required. He was indeed a great teacher and is remembered as such by former students. His graduate students have done very well in Mathematics. Prof Jain really listened to students, took personal interest if needed, and this was not restricted just to mathematics students.

He was head of the Department twice; the first term from 1979-80, and then again from 1983-86. At that time the core course tutorials were being taken entirely by Ph.D. students, which was not working very well, and was widely discussed in the Senate. It was during his headship that the change to tutorials being handled entirely by faculty occurred.

He was a member of the National Board of Mathematics for two terms, and was able to get a large grant for our library, which included getting the P.K. Kelkar Library the status of a regional library for Mathematics. At that time Library grants were a major crisis, as journal prices kept rising. In particular, for mathematics, journals were practically the sole requirement for research activity. The grant from NBHM secured the continuity of procuring journals despite the rising cost.

Prof Jain was a very committed and sincere person and spent a lot of his time and energy for the betterment of mathematics and mathematical training.

His philosophy is quite relevant for everyone:

"Accept everyone for what they are and recognize where each person's strength lies. Then if jobs are assigned to people accordingly, you can get the best and the maximum contribution from each one."


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