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The Man who knew Infinity
Srinivasa Ramanujan Iyengar
(Best known as S. Ramanujan)
(22 Dec 1887 - 26 April 1920)
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 2
Life of Ramanujan
• This presentation is about life & achievements of
famous mathematicians S. Ramanujan & is
organized as below:
• Genius Mathematician (3)
• Child Prodigy (4-5)
• Struggle / Life Downs & Ups (6-13)
• Prof. G.H. Hardy (14-16)
• Hardy Ramanujan Taxicab Numbers (17-18)
• The Lost Notebook (19-22)
• Misperception about Ramanujan (23-24)
• Personal Life (25-29)
• God To him (30-33)
• Quotes about Ramanujan (34-42)
• Ramanujan Eponyms (43)
• Lessons Learnt / Unlearnt from Life of Ramanujan (44-48)
• References / Further Readings (49)
• Ramanujan song (50)
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 3
The Genius Mathematician
• S. Ramanujan hailed as an all-time great
mathematician, like Euler, Gauss or Jacobi, for
his natural genius, has left behind 4000 original
theorems, despite his lack of formal education
and a short life-span.
• Probably Ramanujan’s life has no parallel in the
history of human thought. He was a autodidact
mathematical genius not only of the twentieth
century but for all time to come.
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 4
Child Prodigy
• Learned college-level mathematics by age 11,
and generated his own theorems in number
theory and Bernoulli numbers by age 13
(including independently re-discovering Euler's
identity).
• While in school, he was gifted George
Schoobridge Carr’s 'Synopsis'. This book listed
without proofs 4865 formulae in algebra,
trigonometry, analytical geometry and calculus.
Ramanujan not only proved for himself each of
these formulae but also derived many new
results and recorded them.
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 5
Child Prodigy
A thought of a 7 year old Prodigy
• Teacher: n / n =1, for every integer n.
• Ramanujan: “Is zero divided by zero is also
one?”
• Ramanujan’s Answer: “Zero divided by zero may
be anything. The zero of the numerator may be
several times the zero of the denominator and
vice versa”.
(7 year old prodigy was thinking of limits and limiting processes.)
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 6
Life Down & Ups
• After high school, Ramanujan passed a
competitive examination in English and
Mathematics and secured the Scholarship. He
joined the Government Arts college, in the F.A.
(First Examination in Arts, now a days BA I year)
class at the age of 18 years.
• Due to his love & preoccupation with
Mathematics, he could not pass in English and
Sanskrit and hence was not promoted to the
Senior F.A. Class.
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 7
• He lost his Scholarship & forced to discontinue
his studies due to this and the poverty of his
family.
• However, he appeared privately for the F.A.
examination but failed to pass the university
examinations and this marked the end of his
formal education.
• After having failed in his F.A. class at College, he
ran from pillar to post in search of a benefactor
for 6 (from 18 years of age to 24 years) years.
Life Down & Ups
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 8
Life Down & Ups
• He tried for tutoring assignments to earn
livelihood but failed. His love and dedication for
math continued.
• He lived in absolute poverty. Once he said to
one of his friends, “when food is problem, how
can I find money for paper? I may require four
reams of paper every month.”
• With the help of a recommendation letter from a
mathematician, Ramanujan secured a clerical
post in the 'Accounts' Section of the Madras Port
Trust at an age of 24 years.
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 9
Life Down & Ups
• Meanwhile in 1911 at an age of 23 years, the first
full length (15 page) research paper of
Ramanujan, entitled: “Some properties of
Bernoulli Numbers”, appeared in the Journal of
the Indian Mathematical Society. This brought
him to the forefront of international mathematics.
• After going through a paper by British
mathematician Hardy, about some theorems on
prime numbers, where he claimed that no definite
expression has been found as yet, Ramanujan
derived the expression which very nearly
approximated to the real result.
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 10
Life Down & Ups
• Ramanujan communicated the derived results to
Hardy through a letter, who after getting
convinced that Ramanujan is a natural genius,
persuaded university authorities to invite him to
Cambridge.
• The orchestrated efforts of his admirers, resulted
in inducing the Madras University, in offering him
the first research scholarship of the University in
May 1913; then in offering him a scholarship of
250 pounds a year for five years &100 pounds
for passage by ship and for initial outfit to go to
England in 1914 at an age of 26 years.
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 11
Life Down & Ups
• Ramanujan initially refused to go to England
possibly due to his caste prejudice. But after
mentoring from Neville, Ramanujan finally set
sail for England at a age of 26 years in 1914.
• Prior to Ramanujan departure to England, Prof.
Littlehailes & Mr. Arthur Davies arranged with the
University for £ 60 (out of Scholarship amount of
£ 250 ) per year to be sent to his parents in
India. Thus, he fulfilled his responsibilities as the
eldest son of the family.
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 12
Life Down & Ups
• At Cambridge, Ramanujan worked with Littlewood
and Hardy, mathematicians of repute of that time.
• Ramanujan was awarded the B.A. degree by
research (this degree was later renamed as PhD)
in March 1916 at an age of 28 years, for his work
on Highly Composite Numbers.
• He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of
London in February 1918 at an age of 30 years.
He was the second Indian to become a Fellow of
the Royal Society (1st
one was in 1841, around 80
years prior) & one of the youngest Fellows in the
entire history of the Royal Society.
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 13
Life Down & Ups
• He was elected to a Trinity College Fellowship (a
prize fellowship worth 250 pounds a year, which
he was not destined to avail of.) He was the first
Indian to be elected a Fellow of Trinity College,
Cambridge.
• During his five year stay in Cambridge,
Ramanujan published twenty one research
papers containing theorems.
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 14
Prof. G. H. Hardy
• The role of G.H. Hardy (1877 - 1947), Professor
of Mathematics at Trinity College, Cambridge, in
the life and career of Ramanujan is
immeasurable, peerless and beyond praise.
• Convinced that Ramanujan was a natural
genius, Hardy made up his mind that
Ramanujan should be brought to Cambridge.
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 15
Prof. G. H. Hardy
• The eccentric British mathematician G.H. Hardy
is known for his achievements in number theory
and mathematical analysis. But he is perhaps
even better known for his adoption and
mentoring of the self-taught mathematical
genius, Ramanujan.
• Before writing to Hardy, Ramanujan had written
to two well-known Cambridge mathematicians.
But both of them had expressed their inability to
help Ramanujan.
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 16
Prof. G. H. Hardy
• “Ramanujan was”, Hardy wrote, “my discovery. I
did not invent him, like other great men, he
invented himself, but I was the first really
competent person who had the chance to see
some of his work, and I can still remember with
satisfaction that I could recognize at once what
treasure I had found.”
• Some differences were also developed later
between Ramanujan & Hardy due to working
style.
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 17
Hardy-Ramanujan "taxicab numbers"
• A common anecdote about Ramanujan relates
how Hardy arrived at Ramanujan's house in a
cab numbered 1729, a number he claimed to be
totally uninteresting. Ramanujan is said to have
stated on the spot that, on the contrary, it was
actually a very interesting number
mathematically, being the smallest number
representable in two different ways as a sum of
two cubes. Such numbers are now sometimes
referred to as "taxicab numbers".
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 18
Hardy-Ramanujan "taxicab numbers"
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 19
The Lost Notebook
• Ramanujan recorded the bulk of his results in four
notebooks of loose leaf paper. First 3 notebooks
contained his work before leaving for England.
• Those 3 notebooks were published as a two-
volume set in 1957 by the Tata Institute of
Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai, India.
• The fourth notebook with 87 unorganized pages,
the so-called "lost notebook", was sent to Hardy by
his wife after his death. The notebook remained
untraced nearly for 40 years.
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 20
The Lost Notebook
• The “Lost Notebook” contained results he noted,
during the last year of his life, after his return to
India.
• This “Lost Notebook” was found by Prof. George
E. Andrews of the Pennsylvania State University
in 1976 in the trash.
• The “Lost Notebook” contained some 600
theorems, which Ramanujan called as “mock”
theta functions.
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 21
The Lost Notebook
• The discovery of the “Lost” Notebook of
Ramanujan contributed to a resurgence of
interest in the life and work of Ramanujan.
• Its facsimile edition was brought out by Narosa
Publishing House in 1987, on the occasion of
Ramanujan's birth centenary nearly after 68
years of his death.
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 22
The Lost Notebook
• The results in his notebooks inspired numerous
papers by later mathematicians trying to prove
what he had found.
• He stated results that were both original and
highly unconventional, and these have inspired
a vast amount of further research.
• The many conjectures of Ramanujan opened up
new areas of research in mathematics.
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 23
Misperception
• Ramanujan recorded the bulk of his results in four
notebooks of loose leaf paper. These results were
mostly written up without any derivations. Since
paper was very expensive, Ramanujan would do
most of his work and perhaps his proofs on slate,
and then transfer just the results to paper. This is
probably the origin of the misperception that
Ramanujan was unable to prove his results and
simply thought up the final result directly.
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 24
Misperception
• Professor Bruce C. Berndt of University of
Illinois, who worked extensively on Ramanujan
notebooks, during a lecture at IIT Madras in
2011 stated that, over the last 40 years, as
nearly all of Ramanujan's theorems have been
proven right.
• Also mathematicians agreed on the point that it
was not possible for someone to imagine those
results without solving / proving.
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 25
Personal Life
• Born to Kuppuswamy Srinivasa Iyengar &
Komalathammal of Kumbakonam on Thursday,
Dec 22, 1887, at 6 pm as their first child in
Erode (Tamil Nadu, India).
• His nick name was Chinnaswamy, meaning Little
Lord.
• At the age of five, Ramanujan had a bout of
small pox, which left some permanent scars on
his face.
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 26
Personal Life
• His mother use to sing at a local temple, from
whom he learnt religious traditions, which remained
part of his daily life till the end. He had a deep faith
in God and remained vegetarian throughout his life.
• At the age of 21 in 1909, Ramanujan was married
to Janaki, then a 10 year old girl.
• Ramanujan developed a rare disease, which could
be treated with a surgical operation only. His family
didn’t have the money for the operation, but in1910,
a doctor volunteered to do the surgery for free.
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 27
Personal Life
• Ramanujan suffered illnesses before and after
his marriage and before his departure to
England.
• His health was reasonably good during the first
three years of his stay in Cambridge.
• The period of Ramanujan’s stay in England
almost overlapped with World War.
• Non availability of vegetarian food was one of
factor behind his ill health.
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 28
Personal Life
• From May 1917, he had been in and out of
hospital for duration of 2-3 weeks to 5-6 months
until his departure to India in early 1919 (Last 2
years at Cambridge) due to suffering from
Tuberculosis.
• Ramanujan was persuaded by Hardy to return to
India with the hope that he would recover soon
and return to Trinity College.
• After completing nearly five years at Cambridge,
when Ramanujan appeared to have recovered
sufficiently, he left England on 27th February 1919
for India at an age of 31.
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 29
Personal Life
• Unfortunately, his precarious health did not
improve, on his return to India.
• Despite of the best medical attention from the
doctors, his untimely end came on 26th April
1920, at Chetput, Madras, when Ramanujan
was 32 years old.
• He was survived by wife Janaki, who lived until
her death in 1994 in Chennai alongwith her
foster son.
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 30
God to Him
• Ramanujan often quoted “An equation for me
has no meaning unless it expresses a thought of
God.”
• For example, 2
n
-1 will denote the primordial God
and several divinities. When n is zero the
expression denotes zero, there is nothing;
when n is 1, the expression denotes unity, the
Infinite God. When n is 2, the expression
denotes Trinity; when n is 3, the expression
denotes 7, the Saptha Rishis and so on.
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 31
God to Him
• Ramanujan was eager to work out a theory of
reality which would be based on the fundamental
concepts of “zero”, “infinity” and the set of finite
numbers.
• He spoke of “zero” as the symbol of the absolute
(Nirguna-Brahmam) of the extreme monistic
school of Hindu philosophy, that is, the reality to
which no qualities can be attributed, which
cannot be defined or described by words, and
which is completely beyond the reach of the
human mind.
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 32
God to Him
• According to Ramanujan, the appropriate
symbol was the number “zero”, which is the
absolute negation of all attributes.
• He looked on the number “infinity” as the totality
of all possibilities, which was capable of
becoming manifest in reality and which was
inexhaustible.
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 33
God to Him
• According to Ramanujan, the product of infinity
and zero would supply the whole set of finite
numbers. Each act of creation, could be
symbolized as a particular product of infinity and
zero, and from each such product would emerge
a particular individual of which the appropriate
symbol was a particular finite number.
(As narrated by Prof. Prasantha Chandra Mahalanobius, the renowned
Statistician, contemporary & good friend of Ramanujan at
Cambridge)
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 34
Quotes about Ramanujan
• “Try to imagine the quality of Ramanujan's mind,
one which drove him to work unceasingly while
deathly ill, and one great enough to grow deeper
while his body became weaker. I stand in awe of
his accomplishments; understanding is beyond
me. We would admire any mathematician whose
life's work was half of what Ramanujan found in
the last year of his life while he was dying''.
Prof. Richard Askey
University of Wisconsin-Madison
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 35
Quotes about Ramanujan
• Hardy's personal ratings of mathematicians:
Suppose that we rate mathematicians on the
basis of pure talent on a scale from 0 to 100,
Hardy gave himself a score of 25, Littlewood 30,
Hilbert 80 and Ramanujan 100''.
Bruce C Berndt
Distinguished Research Professor of Mathematics, University of Illinois
Best known for his work explicating the discoveries of Ramanujan. He
is a coordinating editor of The Ramanujan Journal.
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 36
Quotes about Ramanujan
• Sheer intuitive brilliance coupled to long, hard
hours on his slate made up for most of his
educational lapse. This ‘poor and solitary Hindu
pitting his brains against the accumulated
wisdom of Europe’ as Hardy called him, had
rediscovered a century of mathematics and
made new discoveries that would captivate
mathematicians for next century.
Robert Kanigel
Author of “The Man who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius Ramanujan”
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 37
Quotes about Ramanujan
• “I think it is fair to say that almost all the
mathematicians who reached distinction during
the three or four decades following Ramanujan
were directly or indirectly inspired by his
example.” Even those who do not know about
Ramanujan’s work are bound to be fascinated
by his life.
S. Chandrasekhar
The Indian born astrophysicist, who got Nobel Prize in 1983
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 38
Quotes about Ramanujan
• “I have to form myself, as I have never really
formed before, and try to help you to form, some
of the reasoned estimate of the most romantic
figure in the recent history of mathematics, a
man whose career seems full of paradoxes and
contradictions, who defies all cannons by which
we are accustomed to judge one another and
about whom all of us will probably agree in one
judgment only, that he was in some sense a very
great mathematician.”
Prof. Hardy
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 39
Quotes about Ramanujan
• “I found Hardy and Littlewood in a state of wild
excitement because they believe, they have
discovered a second Newton, a Hindu Clerk in
Madras … He wrote to Hardy telling of some
results he has got, which Hardy thinks quite
wonderful.”
Bertrand Arthur William Russell
British philosopher& mathematician, Noble prize holder
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 40
Quotes about Ramanujan
• “Ramanujan’s conjectures formulated and their
later generalization, have come to play a more
central role in the mathematics of today, serving
as a kind of focus for the attention of quite a
large group of the best mathematicians of our
time.
• The estimates of Ramanujan’s nature in
mathematics certainly have been growing over
the years. There is no doubt about that.
Prof. Atle Selberg
The Norwegian mathematician one of the great number theorists of this
century
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 41
Quotes about Ramanujan
• S. Ramanujan, discovered by the Cambridge
mathematician Hardy, whose great mathematical
findings were beginning to be appreciated from
1915 to 1919. His achievements were to be fully
understood much later, well after his untimely
death in 1920. For example, his work on
the highly composite numbers started a whole
new line of investigations in the theory of such
numbers."
Prof. Jayant Narlikar, Indian astrophysicist
In his book Scientific Edge
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 42
Quotes about Ramanujan
• “The fact that Ramanujan’s early years were
spent in a scientifically sterile atmosphere, that
his life in India was not without hardships that
under circumstances that appeared to most
Indians as nothing short of miraculous, he had
gone to Cambridge, supported by eminent
mathematicians, and had returned to India with
very assurance that he would be considered, in
time as one of the most original mathematicians
of the century”.
S. Chandrasekhar
The Indian born astrophysicist, who got Nobel Prize in 1983
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 43
Eponym
Ramanujan is eponym of mathematical topics listed below:
• Ramanujan Magic Square
• Brocard-Ramanujan Diophantine equation
• Dougall-Ramanujan identity
• Hardy-Ramanujan number
• Landau-Ramanujan constant
• Ramanujan's congruences
• Ramanujan-Nagell equation
• Ramanujan-Peterssen conjecture
• Ramanujan-Skolem's theorem
• Ramanujan-Soldner constant
• Ramanujan summation
• Ramanujan theta function
• Ramanujan graph
• Ramanujan's tau function
• Ramanujan's ternary quadratic form
• Ramanujan prime
• Ramanujan's constant
• Ramanujan's sum
• Rogers-Ramanujan identity
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 44
Lessons Learnt / Unlearnt from
Ramanujan’s Life
• Fact, that despite the hardship faced by
Ramanujan, he rose to such a scientific standing
and reputation that no Indian has enjoyed
before, should be enough for young Indians to
comprehend that if they are deserving and can
work hard, they can perhaps soar the way what
Ramanujan had.
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 45
Lessons Learnt / Unlearnt from
Ramanujan’s Life
• Even today in India Ramanujan can not get a
lectureship in a school / college because he had
no degree. Many researchers / Universities will
pursue studies / researches on his work but he
will have to struggle to get even a teaching job.
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 46
Lessons Learnt / Unlearnt from
Ramanujan’s Life
• Even after more than 90 years of the death of
Ramanujan the situation is not very different as
far the rigidity of the education system is
concerned. Today also a ‘Ramanujan’ has to
clear all traditional subjects’ exams to get a
degree irrespective of being genius in one or
more different subjects.
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 47
Lessons Learnt / Unlearnt from
Ramanujan’s Life
• He was offered a chair in India after becoming a
Fellow of the Royal Society. But it is disgraceful
that India’s talent has to wait for foreign
recognition to get acceptance in India or else
immigrate to other places. Similarly many other
scientists had no other option but to immigrate
for opportunities & recognition. Many of those
won international recognitions including noble
prizes. The process of this brain drain is still
continuing even after 60 years of independence.
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 48
Lessons Learnt / Unlearnt from
Ramanujan’s Life
• The most important lesson that we should draw
from Ramanujan’s life about the educational
system is that systems / provision should be
made to support specially gifted children with
very strong interests in one direction, at all
stages of the educational system.
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 49
References / Further Readings
• http://www.imsc.res.in/~rao/ramanujan/newnow/main.htm
• http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Srinivasa_Ramanujan
• "Collected Papers of Srinivasa Ramanujan" Cambridge University Press
(1927)
• Ramanujan: Twelve Lectures on the Subjects Suggested by His Life and
Work by G. H. Hardy, Chelsea Publishing Co, New York, 1940.
• Srinivasa Ramanujan E.H. Neville, English Talk, Air April 22, 1941
• The Man Who Knew Infinity : A Life of the Genius Ramanujan by R. Kanigel,
Abacus Books, London, 1992.
• Ramanujan’s Notebooks (Part I&II) by B.C. Berndt Springer, New York,
1985-1989.
• Ramanujan:The Man and the Mathematician by S.R. Ranganathan, Asia
Publishing House, Bombay, 1967.
• Srinivasa Ramanujan : A Mathematical Genius by K. Srinivasa Rao; East
West Books (Madras) Pvt. Ltd. 1998.
• Srinivasa Ramanujan, Suresh Ram, National Book Trust India, 1989.
• Ganit Jagater Bismay Ramanujan by Satyabachi Sar, Gyan Bichitra
Prakashani, Agartala, 2000. (Bangla)
June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 50
Ramanujan Song
• Ramanujan Song: biographical rock epic about the life of
Ramanujan.
Words and Music by Mark Engelberg
http://archive.org/details/Ramanujan

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Life of ramanujan

  • 1. The Man who knew Infinity Srinivasa Ramanujan Iyengar (Best known as S. Ramanujan) (22 Dec 1887 - 26 April 1920)
  • 2. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 2 Life of Ramanujan • This presentation is about life & achievements of famous mathematicians S. Ramanujan & is organized as below: • Genius Mathematician (3) • Child Prodigy (4-5) • Struggle / Life Downs & Ups (6-13) • Prof. G.H. Hardy (14-16) • Hardy Ramanujan Taxicab Numbers (17-18) • The Lost Notebook (19-22) • Misperception about Ramanujan (23-24) • Personal Life (25-29) • God To him (30-33) • Quotes about Ramanujan (34-42) • Ramanujan Eponyms (43) • Lessons Learnt / Unlearnt from Life of Ramanujan (44-48) • References / Further Readings (49) • Ramanujan song (50)
  • 3. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 3 The Genius Mathematician • S. Ramanujan hailed as an all-time great mathematician, like Euler, Gauss or Jacobi, for his natural genius, has left behind 4000 original theorems, despite his lack of formal education and a short life-span. • Probably Ramanujan’s life has no parallel in the history of human thought. He was a autodidact mathematical genius not only of the twentieth century but for all time to come.
  • 4. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 4 Child Prodigy • Learned college-level mathematics by age 11, and generated his own theorems in number theory and Bernoulli numbers by age 13 (including independently re-discovering Euler's identity). • While in school, he was gifted George Schoobridge Carr’s 'Synopsis'. This book listed without proofs 4865 formulae in algebra, trigonometry, analytical geometry and calculus. Ramanujan not only proved for himself each of these formulae but also derived many new results and recorded them.
  • 5. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 5 Child Prodigy A thought of a 7 year old Prodigy • Teacher: n / n =1, for every integer n. • Ramanujan: “Is zero divided by zero is also one?” • Ramanujan’s Answer: “Zero divided by zero may be anything. The zero of the numerator may be several times the zero of the denominator and vice versa”. (7 year old prodigy was thinking of limits and limiting processes.)
  • 6. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 6 Life Down & Ups • After high school, Ramanujan passed a competitive examination in English and Mathematics and secured the Scholarship. He joined the Government Arts college, in the F.A. (First Examination in Arts, now a days BA I year) class at the age of 18 years. • Due to his love & preoccupation with Mathematics, he could not pass in English and Sanskrit and hence was not promoted to the Senior F.A. Class.
  • 7. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 7 • He lost his Scholarship & forced to discontinue his studies due to this and the poverty of his family. • However, he appeared privately for the F.A. examination but failed to pass the university examinations and this marked the end of his formal education. • After having failed in his F.A. class at College, he ran from pillar to post in search of a benefactor for 6 (from 18 years of age to 24 years) years. Life Down & Ups
  • 8. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 8 Life Down & Ups • He tried for tutoring assignments to earn livelihood but failed. His love and dedication for math continued. • He lived in absolute poverty. Once he said to one of his friends, “when food is problem, how can I find money for paper? I may require four reams of paper every month.” • With the help of a recommendation letter from a mathematician, Ramanujan secured a clerical post in the 'Accounts' Section of the Madras Port Trust at an age of 24 years.
  • 9. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 9 Life Down & Ups • Meanwhile in 1911 at an age of 23 years, the first full length (15 page) research paper of Ramanujan, entitled: “Some properties of Bernoulli Numbers”, appeared in the Journal of the Indian Mathematical Society. This brought him to the forefront of international mathematics. • After going through a paper by British mathematician Hardy, about some theorems on prime numbers, where he claimed that no definite expression has been found as yet, Ramanujan derived the expression which very nearly approximated to the real result.
  • 10. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 10 Life Down & Ups • Ramanujan communicated the derived results to Hardy through a letter, who after getting convinced that Ramanujan is a natural genius, persuaded university authorities to invite him to Cambridge. • The orchestrated efforts of his admirers, resulted in inducing the Madras University, in offering him the first research scholarship of the University in May 1913; then in offering him a scholarship of 250 pounds a year for five years &100 pounds for passage by ship and for initial outfit to go to England in 1914 at an age of 26 years.
  • 11. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 11 Life Down & Ups • Ramanujan initially refused to go to England possibly due to his caste prejudice. But after mentoring from Neville, Ramanujan finally set sail for England at a age of 26 years in 1914. • Prior to Ramanujan departure to England, Prof. Littlehailes & Mr. Arthur Davies arranged with the University for £ 60 (out of Scholarship amount of £ 250 ) per year to be sent to his parents in India. Thus, he fulfilled his responsibilities as the eldest son of the family.
  • 12. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 12 Life Down & Ups • At Cambridge, Ramanujan worked with Littlewood and Hardy, mathematicians of repute of that time. • Ramanujan was awarded the B.A. degree by research (this degree was later renamed as PhD) in March 1916 at an age of 28 years, for his work on Highly Composite Numbers. • He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in February 1918 at an age of 30 years. He was the second Indian to become a Fellow of the Royal Society (1st one was in 1841, around 80 years prior) & one of the youngest Fellows in the entire history of the Royal Society.
  • 13. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 13 Life Down & Ups • He was elected to a Trinity College Fellowship (a prize fellowship worth 250 pounds a year, which he was not destined to avail of.) He was the first Indian to be elected a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. • During his five year stay in Cambridge, Ramanujan published twenty one research papers containing theorems.
  • 14. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 14 Prof. G. H. Hardy • The role of G.H. Hardy (1877 - 1947), Professor of Mathematics at Trinity College, Cambridge, in the life and career of Ramanujan is immeasurable, peerless and beyond praise. • Convinced that Ramanujan was a natural genius, Hardy made up his mind that Ramanujan should be brought to Cambridge.
  • 15. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 15 Prof. G. H. Hardy • The eccentric British mathematician G.H. Hardy is known for his achievements in number theory and mathematical analysis. But he is perhaps even better known for his adoption and mentoring of the self-taught mathematical genius, Ramanujan. • Before writing to Hardy, Ramanujan had written to two well-known Cambridge mathematicians. But both of them had expressed their inability to help Ramanujan.
  • 16. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 16 Prof. G. H. Hardy • “Ramanujan was”, Hardy wrote, “my discovery. I did not invent him, like other great men, he invented himself, but I was the first really competent person who had the chance to see some of his work, and I can still remember with satisfaction that I could recognize at once what treasure I had found.” • Some differences were also developed later between Ramanujan & Hardy due to working style.
  • 17. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 17 Hardy-Ramanujan "taxicab numbers" • A common anecdote about Ramanujan relates how Hardy arrived at Ramanujan's house in a cab numbered 1729, a number he claimed to be totally uninteresting. Ramanujan is said to have stated on the spot that, on the contrary, it was actually a very interesting number mathematically, being the smallest number representable in two different ways as a sum of two cubes. Such numbers are now sometimes referred to as "taxicab numbers".
  • 18. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 18 Hardy-Ramanujan "taxicab numbers"
  • 19. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 19 The Lost Notebook • Ramanujan recorded the bulk of his results in four notebooks of loose leaf paper. First 3 notebooks contained his work before leaving for England. • Those 3 notebooks were published as a two- volume set in 1957 by the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai, India. • The fourth notebook with 87 unorganized pages, the so-called "lost notebook", was sent to Hardy by his wife after his death. The notebook remained untraced nearly for 40 years.
  • 20. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 20 The Lost Notebook • The “Lost Notebook” contained results he noted, during the last year of his life, after his return to India. • This “Lost Notebook” was found by Prof. George E. Andrews of the Pennsylvania State University in 1976 in the trash. • The “Lost Notebook” contained some 600 theorems, which Ramanujan called as “mock” theta functions.
  • 21. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 21 The Lost Notebook • The discovery of the “Lost” Notebook of Ramanujan contributed to a resurgence of interest in the life and work of Ramanujan. • Its facsimile edition was brought out by Narosa Publishing House in 1987, on the occasion of Ramanujan's birth centenary nearly after 68 years of his death.
  • 22. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 22 The Lost Notebook • The results in his notebooks inspired numerous papers by later mathematicians trying to prove what he had found. • He stated results that were both original and highly unconventional, and these have inspired a vast amount of further research. • The many conjectures of Ramanujan opened up new areas of research in mathematics.
  • 23. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 23 Misperception • Ramanujan recorded the bulk of his results in four notebooks of loose leaf paper. These results were mostly written up without any derivations. Since paper was very expensive, Ramanujan would do most of his work and perhaps his proofs on slate, and then transfer just the results to paper. This is probably the origin of the misperception that Ramanujan was unable to prove his results and simply thought up the final result directly.
  • 24. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 24 Misperception • Professor Bruce C. Berndt of University of Illinois, who worked extensively on Ramanujan notebooks, during a lecture at IIT Madras in 2011 stated that, over the last 40 years, as nearly all of Ramanujan's theorems have been proven right. • Also mathematicians agreed on the point that it was not possible for someone to imagine those results without solving / proving.
  • 25. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 25 Personal Life • Born to Kuppuswamy Srinivasa Iyengar & Komalathammal of Kumbakonam on Thursday, Dec 22, 1887, at 6 pm as their first child in Erode (Tamil Nadu, India). • His nick name was Chinnaswamy, meaning Little Lord. • At the age of five, Ramanujan had a bout of small pox, which left some permanent scars on his face.
  • 26. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 26 Personal Life • His mother use to sing at a local temple, from whom he learnt religious traditions, which remained part of his daily life till the end. He had a deep faith in God and remained vegetarian throughout his life. • At the age of 21 in 1909, Ramanujan was married to Janaki, then a 10 year old girl. • Ramanujan developed a rare disease, which could be treated with a surgical operation only. His family didn’t have the money for the operation, but in1910, a doctor volunteered to do the surgery for free.
  • 27. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 27 Personal Life • Ramanujan suffered illnesses before and after his marriage and before his departure to England. • His health was reasonably good during the first three years of his stay in Cambridge. • The period of Ramanujan’s stay in England almost overlapped with World War. • Non availability of vegetarian food was one of factor behind his ill health.
  • 28. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 28 Personal Life • From May 1917, he had been in and out of hospital for duration of 2-3 weeks to 5-6 months until his departure to India in early 1919 (Last 2 years at Cambridge) due to suffering from Tuberculosis. • Ramanujan was persuaded by Hardy to return to India with the hope that he would recover soon and return to Trinity College. • After completing nearly five years at Cambridge, when Ramanujan appeared to have recovered sufficiently, he left England on 27th February 1919 for India at an age of 31.
  • 29. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 29 Personal Life • Unfortunately, his precarious health did not improve, on his return to India. • Despite of the best medical attention from the doctors, his untimely end came on 26th April 1920, at Chetput, Madras, when Ramanujan was 32 years old. • He was survived by wife Janaki, who lived until her death in 1994 in Chennai alongwith her foster son.
  • 30. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 30 God to Him • Ramanujan often quoted “An equation for me has no meaning unless it expresses a thought of God.” • For example, 2 n -1 will denote the primordial God and several divinities. When n is zero the expression denotes zero, there is nothing; when n is 1, the expression denotes unity, the Infinite God. When n is 2, the expression denotes Trinity; when n is 3, the expression denotes 7, the Saptha Rishis and so on.
  • 31. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 31 God to Him • Ramanujan was eager to work out a theory of reality which would be based on the fundamental concepts of “zero”, “infinity” and the set of finite numbers. • He spoke of “zero” as the symbol of the absolute (Nirguna-Brahmam) of the extreme monistic school of Hindu philosophy, that is, the reality to which no qualities can be attributed, which cannot be defined or described by words, and which is completely beyond the reach of the human mind.
  • 32. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 32 God to Him • According to Ramanujan, the appropriate symbol was the number “zero”, which is the absolute negation of all attributes. • He looked on the number “infinity” as the totality of all possibilities, which was capable of becoming manifest in reality and which was inexhaustible.
  • 33. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 33 God to Him • According to Ramanujan, the product of infinity and zero would supply the whole set of finite numbers. Each act of creation, could be symbolized as a particular product of infinity and zero, and from each such product would emerge a particular individual of which the appropriate symbol was a particular finite number. (As narrated by Prof. Prasantha Chandra Mahalanobius, the renowned Statistician, contemporary & good friend of Ramanujan at Cambridge)
  • 34. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 34 Quotes about Ramanujan • “Try to imagine the quality of Ramanujan's mind, one which drove him to work unceasingly while deathly ill, and one great enough to grow deeper while his body became weaker. I stand in awe of his accomplishments; understanding is beyond me. We would admire any mathematician whose life's work was half of what Ramanujan found in the last year of his life while he was dying''. Prof. Richard Askey University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • 35. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 35 Quotes about Ramanujan • Hardy's personal ratings of mathematicians: Suppose that we rate mathematicians on the basis of pure talent on a scale from 0 to 100, Hardy gave himself a score of 25, Littlewood 30, Hilbert 80 and Ramanujan 100''. Bruce C Berndt Distinguished Research Professor of Mathematics, University of Illinois Best known for his work explicating the discoveries of Ramanujan. He is a coordinating editor of The Ramanujan Journal.
  • 36. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 36 Quotes about Ramanujan • Sheer intuitive brilliance coupled to long, hard hours on his slate made up for most of his educational lapse. This ‘poor and solitary Hindu pitting his brains against the accumulated wisdom of Europe’ as Hardy called him, had rediscovered a century of mathematics and made new discoveries that would captivate mathematicians for next century. Robert Kanigel Author of “The Man who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius Ramanujan”
  • 37. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 37 Quotes about Ramanujan • “I think it is fair to say that almost all the mathematicians who reached distinction during the three or four decades following Ramanujan were directly or indirectly inspired by his example.” Even those who do not know about Ramanujan’s work are bound to be fascinated by his life. S. Chandrasekhar The Indian born astrophysicist, who got Nobel Prize in 1983
  • 38. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 38 Quotes about Ramanujan • “I have to form myself, as I have never really formed before, and try to help you to form, some of the reasoned estimate of the most romantic figure in the recent history of mathematics, a man whose career seems full of paradoxes and contradictions, who defies all cannons by which we are accustomed to judge one another and about whom all of us will probably agree in one judgment only, that he was in some sense a very great mathematician.” Prof. Hardy
  • 39. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 39 Quotes about Ramanujan • “I found Hardy and Littlewood in a state of wild excitement because they believe, they have discovered a second Newton, a Hindu Clerk in Madras … He wrote to Hardy telling of some results he has got, which Hardy thinks quite wonderful.” Bertrand Arthur William Russell British philosopher& mathematician, Noble prize holder
  • 40. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 40 Quotes about Ramanujan • “Ramanujan’s conjectures formulated and their later generalization, have come to play a more central role in the mathematics of today, serving as a kind of focus for the attention of quite a large group of the best mathematicians of our time. • The estimates of Ramanujan’s nature in mathematics certainly have been growing over the years. There is no doubt about that. Prof. Atle Selberg The Norwegian mathematician one of the great number theorists of this century
  • 41. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 41 Quotes about Ramanujan • S. Ramanujan, discovered by the Cambridge mathematician Hardy, whose great mathematical findings were beginning to be appreciated from 1915 to 1919. His achievements were to be fully understood much later, well after his untimely death in 1920. For example, his work on the highly composite numbers started a whole new line of investigations in the theory of such numbers." Prof. Jayant Narlikar, Indian astrophysicist In his book Scientific Edge
  • 42. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 42 Quotes about Ramanujan • “The fact that Ramanujan’s early years were spent in a scientifically sterile atmosphere, that his life in India was not without hardships that under circumstances that appeared to most Indians as nothing short of miraculous, he had gone to Cambridge, supported by eminent mathematicians, and had returned to India with very assurance that he would be considered, in time as one of the most original mathematicians of the century”. S. Chandrasekhar The Indian born astrophysicist, who got Nobel Prize in 1983
  • 43. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 43 Eponym Ramanujan is eponym of mathematical topics listed below: • Ramanujan Magic Square • Brocard-Ramanujan Diophantine equation • Dougall-Ramanujan identity • Hardy-Ramanujan number • Landau-Ramanujan constant • Ramanujan's congruences • Ramanujan-Nagell equation • Ramanujan-Peterssen conjecture • Ramanujan-Skolem's theorem • Ramanujan-Soldner constant • Ramanujan summation • Ramanujan theta function • Ramanujan graph • Ramanujan's tau function • Ramanujan's ternary quadratic form • Ramanujan prime • Ramanujan's constant • Ramanujan's sum • Rogers-Ramanujan identity
  • 44. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 44 Lessons Learnt / Unlearnt from Ramanujan’s Life • Fact, that despite the hardship faced by Ramanujan, he rose to such a scientific standing and reputation that no Indian has enjoyed before, should be enough for young Indians to comprehend that if they are deserving and can work hard, they can perhaps soar the way what Ramanujan had.
  • 45. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 45 Lessons Learnt / Unlearnt from Ramanujan’s Life • Even today in India Ramanujan can not get a lectureship in a school / college because he had no degree. Many researchers / Universities will pursue studies / researches on his work but he will have to struggle to get even a teaching job.
  • 46. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 46 Lessons Learnt / Unlearnt from Ramanujan’s Life • Even after more than 90 years of the death of Ramanujan the situation is not very different as far the rigidity of the education system is concerned. Today also a ‘Ramanujan’ has to clear all traditional subjects’ exams to get a degree irrespective of being genius in one or more different subjects.
  • 47. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 47 Lessons Learnt / Unlearnt from Ramanujan’s Life • He was offered a chair in India after becoming a Fellow of the Royal Society. But it is disgraceful that India’s talent has to wait for foreign recognition to get acceptance in India or else immigrate to other places. Similarly many other scientists had no other option but to immigrate for opportunities & recognition. Many of those won international recognitions including noble prizes. The process of this brain drain is still continuing even after 60 years of independence.
  • 48. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 48 Lessons Learnt / Unlearnt from Ramanujan’s Life • The most important lesson that we should draw from Ramanujan’s life about the educational system is that systems / provision should be made to support specially gifted children with very strong interests in one direction, at all stages of the educational system.
  • 49. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 49 References / Further Readings • http://www.imsc.res.in/~rao/ramanujan/newnow/main.htm • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Srinivasa_Ramanujan • "Collected Papers of Srinivasa Ramanujan" Cambridge University Press (1927) • Ramanujan: Twelve Lectures on the Subjects Suggested by His Life and Work by G. H. Hardy, Chelsea Publishing Co, New York, 1940. • Srinivasa Ramanujan E.H. Neville, English Talk, Air April 22, 1941 • The Man Who Knew Infinity : A Life of the Genius Ramanujan by R. Kanigel, Abacus Books, London, 1992. • Ramanujan’s Notebooks (Part I&II) by B.C. Berndt Springer, New York, 1985-1989. • Ramanujan:The Man and the Mathematician by S.R. Ranganathan, Asia Publishing House, Bombay, 1967. • Srinivasa Ramanujan : A Mathematical Genius by K. Srinivasa Rao; East West Books (Madras) Pvt. Ltd. 1998. • Srinivasa Ramanujan, Suresh Ram, National Book Trust India, 1989. • Ganit Jagater Bismay Ramanujan by Satyabachi Sar, Gyan Bichitra Prakashani, Agartala, 2000. (Bangla)
  • 50. June 1, 2013 Ramanujan Educational Institutions - Palwal (India) 50 Ramanujan Song • Ramanujan Song: biographical rock epic about the life of Ramanujan. Words and Music by Mark Engelberg http://archive.org/details/Ramanujan