Every year India celebrates the National Mathematics Day to encourage the practice and development of mathematics as a discipline. This day marks the birthday of legendary India mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan.
Born on December 22, 1887, Ramanujan is considered to have contributed immensely to modern mathematics. On the occasion of National Mathematics Day 2020, here are some interesting facts about Srinivasa Ramanujan:
1. Ramanujan was gifted in mathematics from a young age. He could ace advance mathematical problems from the tender age of 11
2. The interest in the subject had been sparked by a book called A Synopsis of Elementary Results in Pure and Applied Mathematics by George Shoobridge Carr. Ramanujan had come across the book in 1903 when he was 15 years old and found himself engrossed in the world of theorems and proofs
3. He was extremely talented in terms of maths but could not find any interest in other subjects. He received a scholarship for college which had to be nullified as Ramanujan had failed in all the subjects, except for maths
4. The scholar lived his life in poverty until he was discovered by R Ramachandra Rao, the secretary of the Indian Mathematical Society, in 1910. Although he was sceptical about Ramanujan’s genius at first, he agreed to financially support him
5. He was advised by several people to go to England for better opportunities and exposure. Ramanujan began writing letters of introduction to professors at Cambridge but he faced failure. It was said that his letters were too unpolished
6. His letter to well-known English mathematician GH Hardy hit the bull’s eye as the professor recognized Ramanujan’s talent. The duo began writing letters to and forth that led to Hardy inviting Ramanujan to the west
7. Ramanujan kept his theories and mathematical ideas in his notebooks. In one of these was the new series to represent 1/pi in a lot faster method than what was established then.
8. Hardy was greatly impressed with Ramanujan’s abilities. He had formulated a scale of mathematical ability that labelled mathematicians on the scale of 0 to 100. While he gave himself only 25, Hardy had awarded Ramanujan a perfect 100
9. Hardy and Ramanujan are also famous for their special number, known as the Hardy-Ramanujan number. It is 1729, the smallest number expressible as a sum of two cubes in two different ways
10. Ramanujan was weak physically throughout his life, passing away only at the age of 32