Mangala Narlikar is Indian mathematician who has worked and taught in both advanced mathematics and simple arithmetic. After her degrees in mathematics, she initially worked at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Mumbai and later worked as a lecturer in the University of Bombay and Pune. She has published a number of books and articles both in English and Marathi language on mathematics related subjects. She is the recipient of the Vishwanath Parvati Gokhale Award 2002 for her Marathi bookGargi Ajun Jeevant Aahe – गार्गी अजून जिवंत आहे.
Narlikar studied from the University of Bombay and received degrees of B. A. (Maths) in 1962 and M.A. (Maths) in 1964 with first rank and also won the Chancellor’s gold medal. She married, Jayant Narlikar, a well known cosmologist and physicist, in 1966. They have three daughters, Geeta, Girija and Leelavati, all of whom have pursued careers in science; one is a professor of biochemistry and other two are in computer science.
From 1964 to 1966 Narlikar worked as a Research Student and Research Associate in the School of Mathematics of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai. From 1967 to 1969 she taught the undergraduate school at the University of Cambridge. From 1974 to 1980 she again worked in the School of Mathematics of TIFR. She obtained her Ph. D. degree in mathematics from the University of Bombay, 16 years after her marriage, in 1981 on the subject of Analytic Number theory. After obtaining her doctoral degree, she continued to work with TIFR from 1982-1985 as a Pool Officer in the School of Mathematics. Her teaching asssignemnts from 1982 to 1985 was for M Phil class in the Department of Mathematics in the University of Bombbay. She also taught at intervals in the department of Mathematics of the University of Pune from 1989 to 2002 and taught M Sc students at the centre in Bhaskaracharya Pratishthan from 2006 to 2010.
Narlikar’s core fields of interest are Real and Complex Analysis, Analytic Geometry, Number Theory, Algebra and Topology.
On writing books on mathematics, Narlikar wrote: “I enjoyed writing a book on how to make Mathematics interesting and accessible”. On her combining her profession with looking after the household functions she wrote: “My story is perhaps a representation of the lives of many women of my generation who are well educated but always put household responsibilities before their personal careers”.
Narlikar has published a number of scientific papers and books which included: