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Srinivasa Ramanujan

on Thursday, 19 February 2015. Posted in Personalities

Fellow of the Royal Society

Srinivasa Ramanujan

Srinivasa Ramanujan was one of India's greatest mathematical geniuses. He made substantial contributions to the analytical theory of numbers and worked on elliptic functions, continued fractions, and infinite series.

Early Life and Education:

Srinivasa Ramanujan Aiyangar was an Indian Mathematician who was born in Erode, India in 1887 on December 22. He was born into a family that was not very well to do. He went to school at the nearby place, Kumbakonam. Ramanujan is very well known for his efforts on continued fractions and series of hypergeometry. When Ramanujan was thirteen, he could work out Loney’s Trigonometry exercises without any help. At the of fourteen, he was able to acquire the theorems of cosine and sine given by L. Euler. Synopsis of Elementary Results in Pure and Applied Mathematics by George Shoobridge Carr was reached by him in 1903. The book helped him a lot and opened new dimensions to him were opened which helped him introduce about 6,165 theorems for himself. As he had no proper and good books in his reach, he had to figure out on his own the solutions for all the questions. It was in this quest that he discovered many tremendous methods and new algebraic series.

In 1904, he received a merit scholarship in a local college and became more indulgent into mathematics. He lost his interest in all other subjects due to which he lost his scholarship. Even after two attempts, he did not succeed to get a first degree in the field of arts. In 1909, he got married and continued his clerical work and, side by side, his investigations of mathematics. Finally in 1911, he published some of his results.

It was in January 1913 that he sent his work to a Cambridge Professor named G. H. Hardy but he did not appreciate Ramanujan’s work much as he had not really done reached the standard of the mathematicians of the west. But he was given a scholarship in May by the University of Madras.

Contributions and Achievements: 

Ramanujan went to Cambridge in 1914 and it helped him a lot but by that time his mind worked on the patterns on which it had worked before and he seldom adopted new ways. By then, it was more about intuition than argument. Hardy said Ramanujan could have become an outstanding mathematician if his skills had been recognized earlier. It was said about his talents of continued fractions and hypergeometric series that, “he was unquestionably one of the great masters.” It was due to his sharp memory, calculative mind, patience and insight that he was a great formalist of his days. But it was due to his some methods of working in the work analysis and theories of numbers that did not let him excel that much.

He got elected as the fellow in 1918 at the Trinity College at Cambridge and the Royal Society. He departed from this world on April 26, 1920.