A. W. Mailvaganam

Professor Vidya Jyothi

A. W. Mailvaganam

A. W. Mailvaganam.jpg
Born (1906-11-13)13 November 1906
Died 25 March 1987(1987-03-25) (aged 80)
Alma mater Jaffna Central College
St. Benedict's College, Colombo
Royal College, Colombo
Ceylon University College
Emmanuel College, Cambridge
Occupation Academic

Vidya Jyothi Arumugam Wisvalingam Mailvaganam (13 November 1906 – 25 March 1987) was a leading Ceylon Tamil physicist, academic and the dean of the Faculty of Science, University of Ceylon.

Early life and family

Mailvaganam was born on 16 November 1906.[1][2] He was the son of Arumugam Wisvalingam from Suthumalai in northern Ceylon.[3] He was educated at Jaffna Central College, St. Benedict's College, Colombo and Royal College, Colombo.[1][2] After school he joined Ceylon University College, graduating in 1923 with first class BSc honours degree in science.[1][3] He then joined Emmanuel College, Cambridge in 1924, obtaining an MA honours degree in Natural Science Tripos in 1928.[1][3] He received a PhD from Cambridge in 1938.[1][2]

Mailvaganam had a son, Gajanandan Nandakumar.[3] Mailvaganam was a devout Hindu and worshipped at the temple in Bambalapitiya.[4]


After university Mailvaganam joined the Ceylon University College as a lecturer in physics in 1932.[3] He became a professor of physics in 1939 and served Dean of the Faculty of Science, University of Ceylon between 1948 and 1954.[1][2][3] He acted as vice chancellor on a number of occasions when Nicholas Attygalle was vice chancellor.[1] He retired in 1966.[3]

In the 1949 Birthday Honours Mailvaganam was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire.[5] He received the Vidya Jyothi honour in 1985.[1]

Mailvaganam was president of the Ceylon Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the University Grants Commission and Board of Governors of the Institute of Fundamental Studies.[1] He received honorary DSc degrees from the University of Colombo (December 1980) and University of Jaffna.[1][6] The University of Colombo has named one of its annual awards after Mailvaganam.[7]


Mailvaganam died on 25 March 1987.[1][2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Prof. A. W. Mailvaganam remembered". Daily News (Sri Lanka). 18 November 2005. Archived from the original on 19 June 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e Sonnadara, D. U. J. "Vidyajothi Professor A.W. Mailvaganam". Institute of Physics, Sri Lanka.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Arumugam, S. (1997). Dictionary of Biography of the Tamils of Ceylon. pp. 96–97.
  4. ^ Siriwardene, P. P. G. L. (22 February 2001). "Mailvaganam and his place in the sphere of education". The Island (Sri Lanka).
  5. ^ "Fourth Supplement". The London Gazette (38631): 2835. 3 June 1949.
  6. ^ "Honorary Degrees". University of Colombo. Archived from the original on 2013-06-03.
  7. ^ "Mailvaganam Memorial Award in Physics (1987)". University of Colombo. [permanent dead link]

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