Rudranath Capildeo (2nd Feb 1920 - 12th May 1970)

Trinidad and Tobago Icons Vol 1

Rudranath Capildeo was born on February 2nd 1920 in Chaguanas, Trinidad. He lived at the famous “Lion House”. A former national scholarship winner, he attended Queen’s Royal College (QRC). He began studies in medicine at Oxford University, but switched to Mathematics at the University College London due to illness.

He completed an intermediate Bachelor of Science degree and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics (First Class Honours) in 1943. Capildeo returned to Trinidad and taught mathematics at QRC for a brief period. He furthered his studies at the University College London gaining a Master of Science and a Doctorate in Mathematical Physics in 1945 and 1948 respectively.

He was a gifted educator in mathematics and physics. He spent most of his teaching life at the University College London, but also taught at other institutions including Westfield College in London and the University of Khartoum, Sudan. He was the first principal of the Trinidad Polytechnic School.

Capildeo was a considered an outstanding scholar whose ability to manipulate mathematical techniques enabled him to solve any problem. Relativity, vector algebra and mechanics engaged the mind of this scientist. The Flexure Problem in Elasticity (Ph.D. thesis), a topic with practical implication in aerodynamics, was one of several research works written by him. He also published a book on mathematics entitled “Vector Algebra and Mechanics: Theory, Problems and Solutions”.

Regarding his interest in Einstein’s theory of relativity, Capildeo stated that his purpose in researching this theory was not to contradict, but rather fortify, complete and review areas of uncertainty.

He studied law in London while researching Einstein’s work, and was admitted to practise as a Barrister-at-Law in Trinidad and Tobago in 1958. He later founded and led the Democratic Labour Party (1960-1969), which helped draft the independence constitution of Trinidad and Tobago. Dr. Capildeo was Leader of the Opposition in Parliament while his former QRC classmate, Dr. Eric Williams was Prime Minister.

Dr. Capildeo received the country’s highest national award, the Trinity Cross, from the Government of Trinidad and Tobago in 1969 for his outstanding achievements.

He died in England on 12th May 1970.