Gregory Sankaran: Personal

Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Bath

Picture of me, which you can't see for some reason

This page is about me. It tells you all those things you wouldn't be able to find on my Wikipedia page if it existed. It is probably of no interest to you. For undergraduate-level and other mathematics, see my teaching page; for mathematical research, interests, my research page; or for directions, my home page.

Mathematicians' personal web pages are expected to have a picture of them on a mountain somewhere. This mountain is in Andorra.

Brief biography

My father (1923-2014) was from Kumbakonam; my mother (1922-2019) from Cambridge. That gives you some perspective as a mathematician. Cambridge is Cambridge, and as for Kumbakonam, well, you might as well be a cricketer from Bowral or a musician from Salzburg. It doesn't matter whether you are any good or not: you are nowhere close to the best. My father was also a mathematician (MR Author Index 154265): he went to New York in the early 1950s to join Chevalley's group at Columbia, and later taught at Hull University and London: Queen Elizabeth College and, after the mergers of the early 1980s, King's College. My mother, a classicist, worked among other things on a team translation of the Domesday Book.

I was at school in London, at St Paul's: it is one of the English Public Schools but as it is predominantly a day school (and I was a day pupil) it does not quite match the stereotype. I came out of their French O level class able to speak French adequately: it was some while before I realised that this is not usual.

My parents by then spent as much time as they could in Whitchurch, Buckinghamshire, and as a result I do not really think of myself as a Londoner. I do have a fairly precise mental Underground map, which is useful for Mornington Crescent. They also spent one year in Genova, where I acquired reasonable Italian and a general liking for Italy. These have persisted.

I was a mathematics student at Jesus College, Cambridge, where, irrelevantly, my grandfather E.M.W. Tillyard had been Master in the 1950s. I stayed there from 1978 to 1985, as an undergraduate and as a PhD student: my supervisor was Pelham Wilson. From 1986 to 1988 I was a postdoc at Nijmegen: then from 1988 until 1995 I was a Fellow of St Catharine's College, Cambridge, and a College Lecturer (whatever that is or was) at St Catharine's and Downing College, Cambridge. In 1995 I moved to Bath, and I have been here ever since.


I am fascinated by cricket, and pretty much uninterested in all other sports. My father had the same attitude: it is normal in India. My name appeared in Wisden in 1984, by mistake.

I read quite a lot, not always in English.

Despite being no musician I have been fairly thoroughly educated by Radio 3, which is the best classical music radio station in the world. Only France-Musique comes close.

I have some political opinions, most of which you can probably guess.

I used to play chess. I can do it better than most people can, but not well. I always knew some genuinely good players, so I never imagined that I was any good. At some point the time it took stopped being available.

I still play cricket. I didn't need to know good players to find out that I wasn't any good. It was obvious. I get a decent number of wickets (of people who aren't any good either, of course) with my off-spin, but I really, really can't bat.

I am married to Dr Virginia Knight. We have three children, whose on-line presences are their own affair.


Some things I feel like linking to:

I'll add more as I think of them.