Srinivasa Ramanujan 100th Death Anniversary: 7 Interesting Facts About the Great Indian Mathematics You Probably Did Not Know

Srinivasa Ramanujan (Photo Credits: File Image)

On April 26, 1920, one of the greatest mathematician, India ever had, breathed his last. He was just 32-year-old. It is his 100th death anniversary today, April 26, 2020. Srinivasa Ramanujan Iyengar was one of the rare genius minds during the British Rule in India. He never had any formal training in pure mathematics, but he made substantial contributions to mathematical analysis, number theory, infinite series and continued fractions. Ramanujan was the ‘Man Who Knew Infinity.’ He even had solutions to mathematical problems that were considered unsolvable during the time. His short life was full of achievements and many breakthroughs. To mark Ramanujan’s 100th death anniversary, here we present you some interesting facts about the Indian mathematician that you probably did not know. Ten Things to Know About ‘The Man Who Knew Infinity’

1. Ramanujan was born in Erode, Madras, India. His father was a clerk at a sari shop, and his mother was a homemaker.

2. He was such a brilliant as a kid, that he would complete his mathematics sum in half the allotted time.

3. The book, A Synopsis of Elementary Results in Pure and Applied Mathematics, by George Shoobridge Carr, initially published in 1880, revised in 1886, unlocked Ramanujan’s interest in Mathematics. The book consists of thousands of theorems; many presented without proofs. Ramanujan was only 15 when he encountered the book and developed his interest in mathematics.

4. Ramanujan did not have a great start to his career. He obtained a scholarship to college in 1904, but lost it, because he failed in all the subjects, except for Mathematics. In another try at college in Madras (now Chennai), also ended poorly when he failed his first Arts exam.

5. He sends his ground-breaking work to GH Hardy. The latter’s initially believed Ramanujan’s papers to be a fraud. He was so fascinated that he found ‘them hardly possible to believe.’

6. GH Hardy once commented on Ramanujan’s theorems, “these defeat me completely, I have never seen anything like this before.”

7. Not many people know that Ramanujan was the youngest member to be added as a Fellow to the Royal Society in London for his significant contribution in the field of Mathematics.

At the age of 32, on April 26, 1920, Ramanujan passed away. He was diagnosed with tuberculosis and severe vitamin deficiency. After his death, his brother, Tirunarayan, compiled Ramanujan’s handwritten notes, consisting formulae on many mathematical problems. They continue to inspire mathematical work.

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