Meet Mathematician Dr Neena Gupta, Who Solved 70-Year-old Zariski Cancellation Problem

The 'Zariski Cancellation Problem has intrigued mathematicians around the globe ever since a version of it was proposed by O Zariski in 1949.

Arunima Sharma
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Dr Neena Gupta

Dr Neena Gupta is an Associate Professor at the Theoretical Statistics and Mathematics Unit of the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Kolkata. Her brilliance in the field fetched her the prestigious Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar prize last year, at just the age of 35 she became the youngest person and the third woman to receive the award. Dr Gupta was honoured with the Prize for having solved a 70-year-old mathematics puzzle called the Zariski Cancellation Problem.


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Talking about her love for mathematics she told UNEWS that, “I was not the kind who got full marks in maths but I just loved to solve problems and spend hours doing maths.” She further revealed that her mother used to teach her till the Class tenth and she completed her schooling at the Khalsa Model Senior Secondary School. Gupta pursued her degree in Mathematics honours from Bethune College, Kolkata in 2016, she then went on to study Mathematics at the post-graduate level from ISI. After which the mathematician entered the Indian academic ring with a PhD in Algebraic Geometry.

She published her first research paper on the Zariski Cancellation Problem in 2014. Gupta also won the Indian National Science Academy–Young Scientist Award in 2014 for her work on the research paper soon after she first published it. The 'Zariski Cancellation Problem has intrigued mathematicians around the globe ever since a version of it was proposed by O Zariski in 1949. By the early 21st century, several eminent mathematicians had tried to solve the Zariski Cancellation Problem, which remained open for about 70 years.

Commutative Algebra and Affine Algebraic Geometry are the fields Gupta specialises in. In an interview with Research Matters, Gupta said, “Maths is for somebody who can solve the problems on their own. The pleasure which I get in solving problems in mathematics is much more than any award.”

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During the last few years, Dr Gupta has provided solutions to two open problems, one of which was posed by Oscar Zariski (1899-1986), one of the founders of modern Algebraic Geometry. She describes these open mathematical conjectures as problems that can be easily explained to mathematicians but are very difficult to solve. Another problem solved by Dr Gupta was posed by Masayoshi Miyanishi, who is now revered as a father figure among the present affine algebraic geometers.

Image Credit: Research Matters

Arunima Sharma is an intern with SheThePeople.TV

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