The country is celebrating National Mathematics Day on the 121st birth anniversary of Srinivasa Ramanujan, who continues to inspire the generations of mathematicians across the world. Born in 1887 in Tamil Nadu’s Erode, Ramanujan, in his short life, made several key contributions to advanced mathematics, including mathematical analysis, number theory, infinite series, and continued fractions.
In case you’re unaware of just how much he achieved in a short time, here’s a sneak peek:
1) Such was his passion for mathematics that he mastered trigonometry and developed many theorems on his own by the age of 12.
2) Though he excelled in mathematics, Ramanujam’s academic career suffered due to his lack of interest in other subjects, because of which he repeatedly failed in his college exams.
3) He finally found recognition in 1913 when English mathematician GH Hardy came across a 10-page letter sent to him from Madras. Hardy was impressed with his deductions, which contained about 120 statements of theorems on infinite series, improper integral among other theories, prompting an invite to England.
4) Since foreign travel was considered a taboo among upper caste Indians in those days, Ramanujan’s mother was against his decision, but gave in after ‘a vision’. He sailed for England in 1914.
5) Ramnujan’s years in England were mathematically productive and Cambridge granted him a Bachelor of Science degree “by research” in 1916.
6) In 1918, he became a Fellow of the Royal Society, the world’s oldest and most respected scientific society, becoming the youngest person to achieve the feat.
7) Apart from his published works, several notebooks that the mathematician left behind has been the object of much research and study. English mathematician GN Watson and American mathematician Bruce C Berndt have written a multi-volume study of these notebooks.