Ramanuja India’s Mathemat Genius
have been named after him Ramanujan prime and Ramanujan theta function, for example. Ramanujan was born on 22 December 1887 at Pallipalayam, Erode, which was then a part of the Madras Presidency. His father, Srinivasa lyengar, was a clerk at a saree shop while his mother, a housewife, was a pious woman who often sang devotional songs at the local temple. Ramanujan shared a close relationship with his mother and learned music from her. However, it was evident that Ramanujan was ad child prodigy with a natural flair for mathematics. He had mastered advanced rigonometry by the age of 12.
He not only rediscovered several mathematical theorems and identities, but
also conducted research in the subject as a teenager, in an environment that barely facilitated such work, But Ramanujan’s romance with mathematics was so intense, that he hardly had time or inclination to
study other subjects. Unfortunately this led him to become a college
dropout as he failed to clear most of the other subjects. As a result he
found it difficult to get suitable employment. Born into a family with very
limited means and no formal education to back him, Ramanujan for the most part of his early life, lived off the charity of friends, filling notebooks with discoveries in mathematics. Recognizing his special talent, the Indian mathematician Ramachandra Rao helped him get the job of a clerk at the Madras Port Trust. In 1911 Ramanujan published the first of his papers in the Journal of the Indian Mathematical Society.
Ramanujan’s brilance was University professor G H. Hardy with whom Ramanujan had been communicating for some time. He invited Ramanujan to join him at cambridge. ramanujans’s five-year stint at Cambridge was very productive and the university conferred upon him a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1916. In 1918 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal
Society, the first Indian to be so honoured.
There is an interesting story associated with Ramanujan and the number 1729 which has come to be known as the Ramanujan-Hardy number.
Once when Hardy visited Ramanujan at a hospital where he was admitted for some health problem, the professor’s taxi had the number 1729 hardy
mentioned to Ramanujan that it seemed a rather dull I number. Ramanujan
immediately responded by saying that it was really a very interesting number because it was the smallest number that could be expressed as the
sum of two cubes in two different ways as follows:
1°cube(3)+ 12cube(3) = 1729 and 9°(cube)+ 10( cube)°=1729.
Prof. HardyHardy was wonder- struck. Ramanujan who was a strict
vegetarian and hailed from a region with warm climate, could not adjust to English conditions. A sickly boy since childhood, Ramanujan was constantly plagued by ill- health that worsened during his years in England. He returned to India in 1919 and was diagnosed with tuberculosis. He was
confined to sanatorium where he died on 26 April 1920.
Honours and Recognitions
Ramanujan has been honoured in a number of ways by his home state, Tamil Nadu, and also by the Government of India. 22 December is observed as State IT Day in Tamil Nadu. The Mathematics Department of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Chennai, marks 22 December every year by celebrating Ramanujan’s works and life. It conducts a day-long symposium to which scholars in the field of mathematics are invited from India and abroad. The Government of India released a postal stamp to mark Ramanujan’s 75th birth anniversary in 1962 and another one in December 2011.