Thirteenth in the series of Collected Works of Dr. Ananda K. Coomaraswamy in the IGNCA's publication programme, this volume deals with his contribution to the geology and mineralogy of Ceylon (Sri Lanka).
The material in the volume has been arranged in three sections: the first contains his articles on geology and mineralogy of Ceylon published in scientific journals; the second includes the classic Ceylon Administrative Reports which he wrote in 1903-6; and the final section is mainly concerned with several comments on Coomaraswamy's work which highlight his reputation as a mainstream geologist.
Coomaraswamy was appointed as the first Director of the Mineralogical Survey of Ceylon in 1903. During the next four years, he undertook extensive field work studying the contour, nature of the soil and the mineral wealth of the island. The four Administrative Reports that he issued during 1903-6 are considered to be classic on account of the varied wealth of information contained in them covering a wide range of geological, mineralogical and petrological subjects.
His greatest contribution to geology was his discovery of the mineral Thorianite in 1904. It was characteristic of Coomaraswamy's self-effacement and scientific modesty that instead of immortalising his own name, he preferred to name it Thorianite.
In 1906, the university of London Conferred on him the much coveted degree of D.Sc.; on his thesis composed of official reports on Ceylonese mineralogy and other scientific papers. Other honours followed: he was elected a Fellow of the Geological and Linnean Societies of London.
It is hoped that this volume on Coomaraswamy's Contribution to the earth sciences, quite different from his undoubted greatness as an exponent of the Perennial Philosophy, will be of great interest to his innumberable admirers.
Airavatham Ranganathan was a distinguished freelance journalist and writer who contributed regularly to Indian and foreign journals. Well known as an art critic, science writer, book reviewer and political commentator, he was also a broadcaster and telecaster. He had made the life and works of Dr. Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, a comprehensive subject for a life-long study. His well directed efforts to draw the attention of Mrs. Indira Gandhi resulted in the issuance of a stamp by the Government of India in honour of the great scholar, Dr. Ananda Coomaraswamy, in 1977, on the occassion of his birth centenary. Ranganathan lectured on Dr. Coomaraswamy at the India International Centre, New Delhi; National Museum, Colombo; Max Mueller Bhawan, New Delhi and Bombay; and the National Centre for the Performing Arts, Bombay.
His A Coomaraswamy Spectrum was published by the Christian Literature Soiety of Madras in 1981. Ranganathan passed away in December 1997.
Dr. K. Srinivasa Rao is at present a Senior Professor at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai, where he has been a faculty member since 1972. His current research interests are in: special functions, q-series, group theory, quantum algebras and computer algebra. He was an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellow and a Visiting Associate Professor/ Professor at the Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute; University of Texas of Austin; Duke University; Universities of Bonn and Ghent; and has visited and lectured at several universities and institutions. He has authored/co-authored two books including Quantum Theory of Angular Momentum: Selected Topics (1993); and Srinivasa Ramanujan: A Mathematical Genius (1998).
Airavatham Ranganthan (Rangu to his close friends), distinguished freelance journalist and writer - well known as an art critic, science writer, book reviewer and political com-mentator - made the life and works of Dr. Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy (22 Aug. 1877 - 9 Sep. 1947), a comprehensive subject for a life-long study. His well directed efforts to draw the attention of Mrs. Indira Gandhi resulted in the issuance of a stamp by the Government of India in honour of the great scholar, Dr. Ananda Coomaraswamy, in 1977, on the occasion of his birth Centenary. Rangu lectured on Dr. Coomaraswamy at several centers, including the India International Center, New Delhi; the National Museum, Colombo; the Max Meuller Bhavan, New Delhi and the Autonomous Postgraduate Center, Tiruchirapalli. His seven All India Radio talks broadcast from Guwahati, Madras and New Delhi stations have been included in a book entitled: A Coomaraswamy Spectrum (published by The Christian Literature Society of Madras, 1981).
Mr. Ranganathan was a regular visitor to the Anniversary Symposia and special lectures by distinguished Visiting Professors to the Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc), since the inception of the Institute in 1962, as a special invitee of Prof. Alladi Ra-makrishnan, the Founder Director of IMSc. This association brought Rangu into close contact first with my seniors, Prof. R. Vasudevan, Prof. N.R. Ranganathan and Prof. V. Radhakrishnan and later with me. I introduced Rangu to the subsequent Directors of IMSc, Prof. E.C.G. Sudarshan and Prof. R. Ramachandran, and he continued to visit the Institute periodically. This contact of decades led Rangu to reveal to me, in 1996, that he had an invitation from Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan, of the Indira Gandhi National Center for Arts (IGNCA), to compile the writings of Dr. Ananda Coomaraswamy on Geology and Mineralogy Eventually, in July 1996, he showed me the old, fading `xerox' copies of the works of Coomaraswamy, in his possession for several years and asked me to get them into a Camera Ready Copy (CRC) format for publication - an impossible task! I offered to get him modern xerox copies of the papers from Europe, since I was planning a visit to Germany and Belgium that year. Armed with the list of Dr. Coomaraswamy's publications in International Journals (of 1903 - 1906), I left for the Arnold Sommerfeld Institute of the Technical University of Clausthal, in Germany, in Aug. 1996.
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