Harish-Chandra FRS (11 October 1923 – 16 October 1983) was an Indian American mathematician and physicist who did fundamental work in representation theory, especially harmonic analysis on semisimple Lie groups.
Harish-Chandra was born in Kanpur. He was educated at B.N.S.D. College, Kanpur and at the University of Allahabad. After receiving his master's degree in Physics in 1943, he moved to the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore for further studies under Homi J. Bhabha.
In 1945, he moved to University of Cambridge, and worked as a research student under Paul Dirac. While at Cambridge, he attended lectures by Wolfgang Pauli, and during one of them pointed out a mistake in Pauli's work. The two were to become lifelong friends. During this time he became increasingly interested in mathematics. At Cambridge he obtained his PhD in 1947.
He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society. He was the recipient of the Cole Prize of the American Mathematical Society, in 1954. The Indian National Science Academy honoured him with the Srinivasa Ramanujan Medal in 1974. In 1981, he received an honorary degree from Yale University.
The mathematics department of V.S.S.D. College, Kanpur celebrates his birthday every year in different forms, which includes lectures from students and professors from various colleges, institutes and students' visit to Harish-Chandra Research Institute.
The Indian Government named the Harish-Chandra Research Institute, an institute dedicated to Theoretical Physics and Mathematics, after him.
He was considered for the Fields Medal in 1958, but a forceful member of the selection committee in whose eyes Thom was a Bourbakist was determined not to have two. So Harish-Chandra, whom he also placed on the Bourbaki camp, was set aside.