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Locks, Mahabharata Mathematics: An Exploration of Unexpected Parallels

Locks, Mahabharata Mathematics: An Exploration of Unexpected Parallels

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A delightful exercise in lateral thinking

There could be no three more disparate things than locks, mathematics and the Mahabharata. However, as Locks Mahabharata Mathematics shows, this is as entertaining a combination as any. Given here is a treasure trove of stories drawn from all three subjects. What could be more beguiling than a book that mixes Draupadi, a lock with five keys, and the quirky world of polynomials? Or Jarasandha – who could be split apart but whose two halves could never be kept separate – split locks and symmetries? The Mahabharata is known for its stories. Lesser known are the fascinating combinations of locks which Dr Raghu – an avid collector – throws light upon, or the esoteric world of pure mathematics that he conveys for a lay audience. Divided into ten chapters, Locks Mahabharata Mathematics has stories ranging from that of Draupadi, to Yudhishthira’s gamble, to Shukrayacharya and Kacha. Keeping them company are chancy locks, interacting keys and binary stars. Profusely illustrated with drawings of locks from his personal collection, this is a neatly original book like few others. Recalling books such as The Mind’s I, Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul, The Tipping Point, and Gödel, Escher, Bach …, underlying it is a simple principle, one might say: Pure logic is the ruin of the spirit, as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said. These are tales that combine reason with fantasy to elevate the spirit.

About the Author
V. Raghunathan's first career was as an academic – as Professor of Finance at IIM, Ahmedabad, for nearly two decades, until early 2001. His second- a corporate one- started in 2001, first as President, ING Vysya Bank for about four years, and then with the GMR Group – an infrastructure major. He is currently CEO, GMR Group Varalakshmi Foundation. Also, since 1990 he has been an Adjunct Professor at the University of Bocconi, Milan, lecturing in behavioral finance.

Raghu has published over 400 academic papers and popular articles, and six books. He is the author of the best-seller Games Indians Play – Why We Are the Way We Are( Penguin, 2006), and Stock Exchange, Investments and Derivatives (Tata McGraw Hill,2007). He also writes a regular guest column in The Economic Times and monthly pieces in Mint and is a busy public speaker.

He has probably the largest private collection of old locks in the country, has been a cartoonist with a national daily, has played chess at all-India level, and sketched competitively in the past.

His website is www.vraghunathan.com.
A delightful exercise in lateral thinking

There could be no three more disparate things than locks, mathematics and the Mahabharata. However, as Locks Mahabharata Mathematics shows, this is as entertaining a combination as any. Given here is a treasure trove of stories drawn from all three subjects. What could be more beguiling than a book that mixes Draupadi, a lock with five keys, and the quirky world of polynomials? Or Jarasandha – who could be split apart but whose two halves could never be kept separate – split locks and symmetries? The Mahabharata is known for its stories. Lesser known are the fascinating combinations of locks which Dr Raghu – an avid collector – throws light upon, or the esoteric world of pure mathematics that he conveys for a lay audience. Divided into ten chapters, Locks Mahabharata Mathematics has stories ranging from that of Draupadi, to Yudhishthira’s gamble, to Shukrayacharya and Kacha. Keeping them company are chancy locks, interacting keys and binary stars. Profusely illustrated with drawings of locks from his personal collection, this is a neatly original book like few others. Recalling books such as The Mind’s I, Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul, The Tipping Point, and Gödel, Escher, Bach …, underlying it is a simple principle, one might say: Pure logic is the ruin of the spirit, as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said. These are tales that combine reason with fantasy to elevate the spirit.

About the Author
V. Raghunathan's first career was as an academic – as Professor of Finance at IIM, Ahmedabad, for nearly two decades, until early 2001. His second- a corporate one- started in 2001, first as President, ING Vysya Bank for about four years, and then with the GMR Group – an infrastructure major. He is currently CEO, GMR Group Varalakshmi Foundation. Also, since 1990 he has been an Adjunct Professor at the University of Bocconi, Milan, lecturing in behavioral finance.

Raghu has published over 400 academic papers and popular articles, and six books. He is the author of the best-seller Games Indians Play – Why We Are the Way We Are( Penguin, 2006), and Stock Exchange, Investments and Derivatives (Tata McGraw Hill,2007). He also writes a regular guest column in The Economic Times and monthly pieces in Mint and is a busy public speaker.

He has probably the largest private collection of old locks in the country, has been a cartoonist with a national daily, has played chess at all-India level, and sketched competitively in the past.

His website is www.vraghunathan.com.

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