The Leelavati Prize, sponsored by Infosys, is intended to accord high recognition and great appreciation of the International Mathematical Union (on behalf of the international mathematical community) and Infosys of outstanding contributions for increasing public awareness of mathematics as an intellectual discipline and the crucial role it plays in diverse human endeavors.
The Executive Organizing Committee (EOC) of the ICM 2010 in Hyderabad decided, with the endorsement of the IMU Executive Committee (EC), to give a one-time international award, named the Leelavati Prize, for outstanding public outreach work for mathematics at the ICM Closing Ceremony, see the 2010 Press Release for details.
The award of the Leelavati Prize was well-received, and the Indian colleagues proposed to turn the prize into a recurring four-yearly award and the award ceremony a regular feature of every ICM Closing Ceremony. The IMU EC accepted this proposal, and Infosys agreed to sponsor the Leelavati Prize since 2014.
The Prize Selection Committee is chosen by the Executive Committee of the International Mathematical Union and Infosys.
The name of the Chair of the Committee is made public, but the names of other members of the Committee remain anonymous until the award of the prize at the Congress.
The details of the Award, the nomination, and the selection can be found in the Statutes for the Award.
The award carries a cash prize of 1,000,000 INR and a citation.
Leelavati is a twelfth century mathematical treatise written by the Indian mathematician Bhaskara II (also known as Bhaskaracharya – Acharya is teacher in Sanskrit). In the book the author poses a series of problems in elementary arithmetic and algebra as challenges to a person named Leelavati, followed by indications of solutions. The problems are written in verse form. According to a legend, Leelavati was a daughter of Bhaskaracharya and the book arose out of the author's efforts to console her with mathematics when a planned wedding for her was cancelled. This treatise was the main source for learning the then state-of-the art arithmetic and algebra in medieval India. The work was also translated into Persian and was influential in the Middle East.