10 Things You Need To Know About The Man Who Knew Infinity
Srinivasa Ramanujan, one of India’s greatest mathematicians who was recently venerated in the Hollywood biopic “the Man Who Knew Infinity”, set a path for greatness and genius which was unprecedented and phenomenal. The kind of discoveries he made during his time was utterly remarkable and mind-blowing. On the occasion of the 129th birth anniversary of this brilliant genius, we get bring to you some lesser known facts about his short but fantastic life.
- Srinivasa was born in a Tamil Brahmin Iyengar family on 22 December 1887 at Erode in Tamil Nadu, during the British Raj.
- His name Srinivasa means ‘one who lives in wealth’ while his surname Ramanujan means ‘Lord Rama’s younger brother’.
- When he was around 15 years old, he developed an independent method to solve the quartic.
- In 1903, at the age of 16, he obtained a library copy of G. S. Carr’s Synopsis of Pure Mathematics, a collection 0f 5000 theorems which is said to have illumined his genius.
- Interested only in mathematics, Srinivasa failed the Fellow of Arts examinations, abandoned his college studies and despite extreme poverty and starvation, he continued his mathematical research with great enthusiasm and vigour.
- In 1911, he published his first research paper in India in the Journal of the Indian Mathematical Society, based on the properties of the Bernoulli numbers.
- On 16 January 1913, he wrote his first letter to the English mathematician and Cambridge professor G. H. Hardy, who was so amazed by his brilliance that he is supposed to have said that Srinivasa was “a mathematician of the highest quality, a man of altogether exceptional originality and power” and also invited him to Cambridge to begin a collaboration in mathematical research.
- Although they had completely different personalities and cultures, G. H. Hardy and Srinivasa found a common ground – mathematics – where both of them connected deeply and influenced each other a great deal.
- Despite a very basic training in mathematics, Srinivasa made ground-breaking discoveries in number theory, continued fractions, infinite series and other related areas of mathematics!
- By the time he died on 26 April 1920 at the young age of 32, he had brought to light approximately 3900 mathematical results, most of which were equations and identities. Today, a vast majority of these results have been proved to be correct by modern mathematicians.
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