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Be like Ramanujam - the genius mathematician


Srinivasa Ramanujan Aiyangar was an Indian mathematician who made enormous contributions to the field of Math. He was considered a genius who offered solutions to mathematical problems that were considered unsolvable during his time. His main contributions were towards mathematical analysis, infinite series, number theory and continued fractions. He lived through the British Rule and was in isolation when he initially developed his own mathematical research. He was a child prodigy and by the age of 11, he had already mastered college level mathematics. As a result of his work, new areas of research opened.

The Turning Point

However, Ramanujam faced his own challenges as he found few who could understand his work or what he was trying to do. In 1913, he initiated a postal correspondence with English mathematician G.H. Hardy at the University of Cambridge, England. This turned out to be a turning point in his career. For G.H. Hardy was mighty impressed with Ramanujan and he immediately was put on a flight to Cambridge. In fact, Hardy termed Ramanujan’s work as ‘ground-breaking’ as he produced solutions for theorems that had completely defeated him in the past.

Did you know Ramanujan’s family home is now a museum?

His contributions

Ramanujan stayed engrossed in his work during his short life span. He loved math as is evident from the 3,900 independently compiled results of equations and identities. All his work were original and unheard of before. He was responsible for the Ramanujan Prime, the Ramanujan theta function, mock theta functions and partition formulae.

His work was immense and his contributions significant. The Ramanujan Journal (scientific journal) was created solely to publish all work influenced by Ramanujan in the field of mathematics. His work is being studies for decades, especially his notebooks which summaries of his published and unpublished results. Even in 2012, some researchers found new contributions on 'simple properties’, and ‘similar outputs’ with other results were found about a century after his death.

His Achievements

He became the second Indian member to be a part of the ‘Fellows of the Royal Society’ and the youngest one at that. The first Indian to be elected to the Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. Hardy once stated that a mere glimpse at his work indicated a mathematician of the highest caliber. He often compared Ramanujan to Euler and Jacobi who were geniuses themselves. He was awarded the K Ranganatha Rao prize for mathematics by the school’s headmaster, Krishnaswami Iyer.

It is rather unfortunate that he died very early at the age of 32 due to a medical complication. His last communications to Hardy indicated that he was producing new ideas and theorems during the last year of his life. In 1976 there was great excitement among the mathematic fraternity as a lost notebook containing discoveries during the last year of his life was found.

Did you know that Ramanujan attributed all his mathematical abilities and ideas to divinity? He believed that an equation has no meaning if it didn’t express a thought of God.

His Challenges

Ramanujan was so intent on mathematics that he failed the rest of the subjects at the Government Arts College, Kumbakonam where he received a scholarship to study. He lost his scholarship and ran away from home. After a month, he enrolled in Pachaiyappa’s College in Chennai, where he passed only in Mathematics, answering only some questions. He failed his FA exams twice in a row and later left college. He was living on the brink of poverty and starvation.

It was later in 1910, that the founder of the Indian Mathematical Society V Ramaswamy Aiyer, included him as a researcher at the University of Madras and he began to get recognition for his work.

Wanna be like Mr. Ramanujan?

The lesson we learn from his short life story is to always work hard. It is also important to focus on what excites you. Aptitude and passion are the perfect combination to achieve success in your goals. No matter how difficult life gets, don’t ever give up.

Learner Circle has some exciting online courses for those who have a passion to learn. Learner Circle is constantly finding new ways to bring learning into the lives of people. We understand that various types of learning can impact different people in different ways. Therefore, have a plethora of courses for you to choose from. Our courses focus on early age development and skill development. Please do not hesitate to contact us

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