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In the Footsteps of a Giant: Ramanujan

Countless number of people enter this world ,not serving any real purpose, and sadly, making no relative contribution to society.

But, every now-and-then a person comes along and leaves his mark forever. That individual is ‘Ramanujan’, the mathematician, and a ‘Demigod”.

Srinivasa Ramanujan was born on 22nd December 1887, in Erode, Madras Presidency.

By the age of 12 he had completely mastered ‘Trigonometry’, even making up his own ‘Theorems’ .He was completely ‘Self Taught’.

It is widely believed that his ‘Brahmin’ roots, and his adherence to its strict traditions, and studying of the ‘Puranas’, made him what he was; his mother believed that Ramanujan was ‘Blessed’ by the Gods.

Like all ‘Geniuses’, he excelled only in mathematics, failing all his other exams, not showing any particular interest in them.

During his short life, Ramanujan contributed immensely to the field of ‘Pure Mathematics’, in particular, ‘Number Theory’.Unfortunately, many prominent mathematicians of the time, ignored or dismissed his work as fake. He was not taken seriously at all, until G.H.Hardy saw his notebooks and recognized a ‘Genius at the making’, and invited him to come to Cambridge University.

He subsequently arranged for him to receive a ‘Scholarship’ and make the long journey to England, and eventually to Cambridge, so he could pursue his talent, with the collaboration of Hardy, who once said that if he had to rank the young Ramanujan, he would put him among people like ‘Sir Isaac Newton’ and ‘Archimedes’.

Sadly though, Ramanujan lived a short but very fruitful life; it was said that his ‘Ill health’ was brought-on by the fact of not having access to proper ‘Vegetarian’ food, along with England’s cold climate, and the stress of working very hard. All these were contributing factors that lead him to eventually return to Madras Presidency, where he died shortly, at the age of 32.

 

His name will ‘Ring through the Ages’ as a very gifted mathematician and his legacy still remains today, where Undergraduates of Mathematics study his aspects in ‘Analytical Theory of Numbers’. He is respected worldwide by mathematical academics as a true genius and a remarkable individual..His contributions to mathematics include: Landau-Ramanujan Constant, Mock theta functions, Ramanujan Conjecture, Ramanujan prime, Ramanujan-Soldner Constant, Ramanujan theta Function, Ramanujan’s sum, and Rogers-Ramanujan identities.

 

The untimely death of Ramanujan, at the age of only 32,  was a great loss to the mathematical world, and had he lived way into his old age, the field of ‘Pure Mathematics’ would have undergone a complete Metamorphisis in every aspect.

 

 

Shahrokh Sharifrazy

 

Shahrokh Sharifrazy is A trained mathematician from the University of London..Shahrokh has been an accomplished teacher of Mathematics for a long time and is now full time journalist.  He originally hails from Iran. Articles by the author:-

 

 

 

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