Balwant Singh, after obtaining his BA from the University of Bombay (1965), joined TIFR as a research student. He obtained MSc (Thesis) (1969) and PhD (1970), both from Bombay University, under the supervision of R Sridharan and CS Seshadri, respectively. The topics of the two theses were regular local rings and unique factorization domains in the areas of commutative algebra and algebraic geometry. He continued to work at TIFR till his retirement in 2000. After retirement, he joined IIT Bombay and worked there on a regular basis till 2005, and on a part time basis since then.
Academic and Research Achievements: Balwant Singh computed the divisor class groups of rings of invariants of finite groups. He found an upper bound for the group of automorphisms of a curve of genus at least two in positive characteristic. He classified the embeddings into the plane of a curve with one place at infinity. He analyzed singularities of an algebraic variety in the context of resolution of singularities and described their behaviour under both permissible and non-permissible blowing-ups, finding in the process a numerical criterion for the permissibility of a blowing-up. Studying singularities via their differential properties in characteristic zero, he described the structure of maximally differential ideals in a complete local ring and also the structure of differential operators on a hypersurface, thereby proving a special case of Nakai's conjecture. He analyzed the relationship between the Picard group, invertible modules and subintegrality by providing an element wise characterization of subintegrality and describing the structure of generic subintegrality. He has published about 32 research papers and supervised two PhD students.
Other Contributions: Balwant Singh contributed to the promotion of excellence in mathematics as Member, National Board for Higher Mathematics (1992-99). He also served on the Editorial Board of Beitraege zur Algebra und Geometrie.
Awards and Honours: Professor Singh was elected a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore in 1989.