Educational Affiliations


Research Interests

Impact on the Field





Dr. Mathukumalli Venkata Subbarao was both a teacher and a researcher, and he impacted the field of number theory and mathematics in general in both capacities.  As a teacher, he started a number of students on their own adventure in mathematics; many of them subsequently became university professors themselves, starting new generations on the path of investigation.  He also served as mentor, formally as the guide and advisor to Ph.D. students, and informally as an inspiration to many who did not necessarily go on for a doctoral degree.

As a researcher, as has been mentioned in the “Research Interests” section, he formulate many open problems to stimulate and inspire other researchers.   He also had a wide network of mathematicians around the globe, with whom he collaborated on joint research.  He also visited many of their institutions, and facilitated their visits and short term appointments to the University of Alberta for research purposes.  His frequent collaborators are listed below.

From Canada:

·        H. L. Abbott (University of Alberta)

·        W. Aiello (University of Alberta)

·        J. Fabrykowski (University of Alberta)

·        R.A. Smith (University of Toronto)

·        Bruce L. Richmond (University of Waterloo)

From the United States of America:

·        George Andrews (Pennsylvania State University)

·        Leonard Carlitz (Duke University)

·        Ernst G. Straus (UCLA)

·        A. Gioia (Western Michigan University)

·        V. C. Harris (San Diego State University)

·        N. Robbins (San Francisco University)

From Hungary:

·        Paul Erdos (Mathematical Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences)

·        Imre Katai (Eotos Lorand University, Budapest)

·        J. M. De Koninck

From Asia:

·        P. H. Diananda (University of Singapore)

·        L. W. Yip, Hong Kong

·        S. Kanemitsu (Kyushu University), Japan

·        Y. K. Feng, Tianan, Taiwan

·        Wang Yuan (Academia Sinica), Beijing

From Australia:

·        M. D. Hirschhorn (University of New South Wales), Australia

From India:

·        R. Balasubramaniam (Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai)

·        K. Agarwal (Punjab University, Chandigarh)

·        K. Ramachandra (Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai)

·        R. Sitaramachandra Rao (Andhra University, Waltair)

·        V. Sitaramaiah (Pondicherry Engineering College)

·        V. Sivarama Prasad (Osmania University, Hyderabad)

·        V. Subramanya Sastri (Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati)

·        D. Suryanarayana (Andhra University, Waltair)

·        M. Sugunamma (Padmavati University, Tirupati)


Tributes to Dr. Subbarao


The Institute of Mathematical Sciences,
Chennai 600 113, India

The modern period in the history of Indian mathematics, and that of number theory in particular, starts with the legendary figure of Srinivasa Ramanujan. The influence of Ramanujan, particularly on the study of arithmetic functions and partition functions persisted for the next two generations. Notable mathematicians were S. S. Pillai, Ananda Rao, T. Vijayaraghavan, R. Vaidyanathaswamy, followed by S. D. Chowla, K. G. Ramanathan, Hans Raj Gupta, M. V. Subbarao and others. With the demise of M. V. Subbarao after a brief illness on 15 February 2006 in Canada, we have lost the last person from that era.

I vividly recall those days in mid 80s when he found some time to spend with me during his personal visits to Mumbai. These meetings were arranged by K. Ramachandra, with whom I was working for my doctorate then. Even though I had just finished my doctorate at that time, he treated me as his equal and enjoyed discussing mathematics with me. This continued even after I moved over to Chennai in 1985, until early 2000. He made it a point to spend a day or two with me discussing mathematics. I always found the discussions enjoyable and stimulating.

An international conference was held in 2002 in the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai to felicitate Subbarao when he turned eighty. The proceedings appeared as a publication of the Ramanujan Mathematical Society. When he was invited for an international conference in 2003 in connection with the 70th birthday of K. Ramachandra, Subbarao expressed his inability to attend the same on health grounds, but contributed three papers towards the proceedings. He has collaborated with many mathematicians. His Erdös number is 1. For readers who are non-mathematicians, the term ‘Erdös number’ needs an explanation. Paul Erdös wrote around 1500 mathematical articles, mostly coauthored. The number of his collaborators is more than 500. His direct collaborators have Erdös number 1. Those who collaborated with the direct collaborators, but not with Erdös himself, have an Erdös number 2. (This list has around 7000 people. Those who have collaborated with people who have Erdös number 2, but not with Erdös himself nor with anyone having an Erdös number 1, have an Erdös number 3 and so on). The Indian collaborators of Subbarao includes K. G. Ramanathan, K. Ramachandra, D. Suryanarayana, R. Sitaramachandra Rao, V. Sivaramaprasad, V. Sitaramaiah, Arun Verma, A. K. Agarwal, V. V. Subramanya Sastry, M. Sugunamma, P. H. Diananda and myself.



From the Foreword by K. Ramachandra, in Lecture Notes Series Number 1:  Number Theory (Proceedings of the International Conference held at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai, in January, 2002), published by the Ramanunan Mathematical Society, India, in cooperation with Harish Chandra Research Institute, Allahabad, India, edited by S. D. Adhikari, R. Balasubramanian, and K. Srinivas.



His work and his pleasant nature brought Professor Subbarao a number of collaborators.  In particular, Professor Subba Rao’s Erdös number is one.  Indeed, he has eight joint papers with Professor P. Erdös.  A number of Indian mathematicians, among them Professor K. G. Ramanathan, Professor R. Balasubramanian and myself, have had the good fortune of working with Professor Subbarao.  He has had special interest in the Mathematics departments of Sri Venkateshwara and Andhra Universities, where his support and encouragement produced excellent mathematicians such as Professors D. Suryanarayana and R. Sita Ramachandra Rao.


Professor Subbarao collaborated with some forty other researchers, including Paul Erdös, Ernst Straus, L. Carlitz, George Andrews, Imre Katai, Wang Yuan,George Hardy, David Broussoud, M. D. Hirschhorn, K. G. Ramanathan, K. Ramachadra, R. Balasubramanian, R. A. Smith, H. L. Abbott, D. Suryanarana, R. Sitaramachandra Rao, V. Sivarama Prasad, V. Sitaramaiah, A. Verma, A. K. Agarwal, V. V. S. Sastri, M. Sugunamma, et al., besides his son Vidyasagar.  His research publications total around 200.







A Condolence Resolution

UGC Sponsored National Seminar Number Theory and its Applications, India, March 1-2, 2006,




Prof. M.V.Subbarao had enriched the field of Number Theory by his continuous researches spanning over a period of six decades. His valuable contribution to Number Theory has been well recognized in the national as well as international circles. He collaborated with famous Number Theorists like Paul Erdos, George E. Andrews and such others. He trained many young researchers in the field.

He started his teaching career as a lecturer during 1950's in the Madras Govt. Educational service and then moved over to the newly formed Sri Venkateswara University Thirupathi during 1956. From Thirupathi, he went to USA in 1963 and finally settled down in the University of Alberta, Canada, where he adorned the professional chair with distinction, till his last breath on 15th Feb. 2006 in Edmonton, Canada.

The far reaching influence of Prof. M.V.Subbarao on his students in India and abroad is conspicuous in their continuing survival work in the respective research branches of Number Theory and in turn bequeathing this legacy to their students. Thus Prof. M.V.Subbarao will be remembered more as an institution rather than a highly accomplished individual.

The chairperson, convener, members of the organizing committee and all the invitees and participants at the National Seminar condoled the demise of Prof. M.V.Subbarao by observing silence for a couple of minutes in honour of the departed soul on 1st march 2006 at 11 am.

Subsequently this condolence resolution was passed during the valedictory session on 2nd march 2006 at 4:30 pm.