national-mathematics-day-birth-anniversary-of-srinivasa-ramanujan

National Mathematics Day is celebrated every year on 22nd December in memory of Great Mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan.

Background:

  • In 2012, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declared December 22 as National Mathematics Day.
  • The Dev Patel-starrer ‘The Man Who Knew Infinity’ (2015) was a biopic on the mathematician.
  • His genius has been regarded to be at par with mathematical geniuses like Euler and Jacobi  from the 18th and 19th centuries.

About Srinivasa Ramanujan:

  • Ramanujan was born on 22 December 1887 into a Tamil Brahmin Iyengar family in Erode, Madras Presidency (now Tamil Nadu, India), at the residence of his maternal grandparents.
  • He lived in a small traditional home on Sarangapani Sannidhi Street in the town of Kumbakonam.
  • Seeking mathematicians who could better understand his work, in 1913 he began a postal partnership with the English mathematician G. H. Hardy at the University of Cambridge, England. Recognizing Ramanujan's work as extraordinary especially pertaining to Infinite series, Hardy arranged for him to travel to Cambridge.
  • At the age of 31, Ramanujan was one of the youngest members of Britain’s Royal Society and the first Indian to be elected a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge University.
  • In 1919, ill health [now believed to have been hepatic amoebiasis (a complication from consistent episodes of dysentery)] compelled Ramanujan's return to India, where he died in 1920 at the age of 32.

His Contribution:

  • Though he had almost no formal training in pure mathematics, he made substantial contributions to mathematical analysis, number theory, infinite series, and continued fractions, including solutions to mathematical problems then considered unsolvable.
  • During his short lifetime, Ramanujan independently compiled nearly 3,900 results (mostly identities and equations).
  • Many were completely novel; his original and highly unconventional results, such as the Ramanujan prime, the Ramanujan theta function, partition formulae and mock theta functions, have opened entire new areas of work and inspired a vast amount of further research.
  • He had worked out the Riemann series, elliptic integrals, hypergeometric series, and the functional equations of the zeta function.

 

The story of Srinivasa Ramanujan is a 20th century “rags to mathematical riches” story. In his short life, Ramanujan had a wealth of ideas that had transformed the 20th century mathematics and which continues to shape mathematics of the 21st century.

Source: [1] [2]

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