Shivaji honored at 10th annual MSU Conference
On the weekend of October 23rd, Dr. Ratnasingham Shivaji was joined by his students and colleagues from around the world to attend the 10th annual Mississippi State University Conference on Differential Equations and Computational Simulations. Here at UNCG, Dr. Shivaji serves as the head of the Mathematics and Statistics Department, as well as achieving the distinguished status of an H. Barton Excellence Professor. He was honored at this year’s conference for his extensive accomplishments as both a professor and researcher in the field of differential equations.
After receiving his Ph. D. at the Heriot-Watt University in Scotland, Shivaji taught at MSU for twenty six years, where he earned the title of a William L. Giles Distinguished Professor Emeritus. During that time, he organized the first Conference on Differential Equations and Computational Simulations, an event focused on bringing together mathematicians from across the country and around the world to share their research and exchange ideas. “It started in 1993,” said Shivaji. “At that particular time, we were trying to build a PhD program, and so also wanted to build prominence in a certain area. We had a few people in differential equations already, so we got funding [from NSF] and started planning.”
Shivaji has attended each one since then, and the conference has grown continuously. This year’s event over 180 attendees, the largest ever. “Over the ten conferences we have actually gone through almost all of the big guns in Differential Equations and brought them to Mississippi State,” he said. He was pleasantly surprised to find out that this year’s event would be dedicated to him. “This tenth conference also coinciding with my 60th birthday, I guess [my colleagues] wanted to do something special for me,” he said. “I have had thirteen Ph. D. students and one postdoctoral, and ten of them were there. Two of them came all the way from Korea, and two from the Czech Republic, so it was very special for me in that sense, that they all gathered together.”
While Shivaji has published many pieces of outstanding research, it is this dedication to his students and his classes that makes him such a remarkable professor. “Teaching and research go together for me. I start my day as much as possible with my teaching duties because I believe that can give you an instant reward,” he said. “Research can be a very slow process, but you immediately get a reward if you can get the students to understand something.” Clearly, Shivaji deserves every bit of recognition he has received from both MSU and UNCG.
Article by Mary McLean
Photography courtesy Renuka Shivaji