Liberal Arts Blog — Tamil Knack for Math and Science
Liberal Arts Blog — Wednesday is the Joy of Science, Engineering, and Technology Day
Today’s Topic — Tamil Knack for Math and Science
The first Indian Nobel Prize winner was Tamil — C.V. Raman in 1930 in physics. He was in fact the first Asian winner in any branch of science. In 1983, another Tamil, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with William Fowler. In 2018, the Tamil-American Venki Ramakrishnan shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with William Steitz and Ada Yonath. In 2020, Akshay Venkatesh, a Tamil-Australian, became “the second Australian and the second person of Indian descent to win the Fields Medal.” What is it with the Tamil knack for math and science? Who are the Tamils anyway? Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
TAMILS — 76 Million
1. India — 69 million, 5.9% of population
2. Sri Lanka — 3 million (70% live in the northern and eastern provinces as shown on the map above. The total population of Sri Lanka is 22 million.
3. Malaysia — 1.8 million
NB: During the Sri Lankan civil war (1983–2009) roughly 800,000 Sri Lankan Tamils fled Sri Lanka.
1. South Africa — 600,000, Singapore — 500,000 United Arab Emirates, 400,000
2. Saudi Arabia — 350,000, US 240,000, Canada 160,000
3. France — 125,000, UK 120,000
THE JEWISH ANALOGY — AN ANCIENT, PERSECUTED MINORITY (see sixth link)
1. “The Tamils and the Jews are both ancient peoples. The Tamils built the cities of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro in the Indus valley. These cities had cultural and trade ties to Mesopotamia when much of Jewish culture was located there.”
2. “The first ‘Aryan invasion’ of our original homeland in Northern India took place in the 1500s BCE, and was only the first of several. Over centuries the center of Tamil culture shifted to southern India and Sri Lanka and currently includes a Tamil diaspora with settlers in almost every country of the world.”
3. “The most important point: Jews were the victims of a recent attempt, the holocaust, to exterminate them. Sri Lankan Tamils have been the victims of a similar attempt that began in 1948.”
NB: “English historian and broadcaster Michael Wood called the Tamils the last surviving classical civilization on Earth, because the Tamils have preserved substantial elements of their past regarding belief, culture, music and literature despite the influence of globalization.” (seventh link below)
Kamala Harris, Vice President of the United States, is half-Tamil — her mother’s side.
A LINK TO THE LAST THREE YEARS OF POSTS ORGANIZED BY THEME:
Please share the coolest thing you learned this week related to science, engineering, or technology. Or, even better, the coolest or most important thing you learned in your life related to science and engineering.
This is your chance to make someone else’s day. Or to cement in your mind something that you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply about something dear to your heart. Continuity is key to depth of thought.