Srinivasa Ramanujan

Srinivasa Ramanujan

I am always interested in persons that have had a significant impact on our world. Moses, Jesus & Muhamad are great examples of individuals that were so impactful in their missions that three extremely powerful belief systems sprang from their examples. It is not clear if they intended for organized & enthusiastic religions to be the result, but at the core all three were based on moral virtues. In my mind the specific beliefs are far less important than the goal of spreading the value of moral behavior. I fear that, in many organizations, this original intent has taken a back seat to other objectives.

In the area of mathematics Ramanujan has no rival. What I find of particular interest is that despite his lack of an extensive education in his formative years he found that he had a knack for numbers. He passed away at a relatively young age of 32 (1887 – 1920). He credited his insight into the mathematical formulas that he devised to his family goddess. Following is taken from Wikipedia:

“He credited his acumen to his family goddess, Namagiri Thayar (Goddess Mahalakshmi) of Namakkal. He looked to her for inspiration in his work and said he dreamed of blood drops that symbolized her consort, Narasimha. Afterward he would receive visions of scrolls of complex mathematical content unfolding before his eyes. He often said, “An equation for me has no meaning unless it represents a thought of God.”

The mountain of work that he produced in such a short time was phenomenal. Today there is still work being done on his theorems in an attempt to merely understand them. In cases were his theories have been studied virtually every theory that had proposed has been verified. There is still much work to be done.

Ramanujan was discovered and mentored by the British mathematician G H Hardy.

Again from Wikipedia:

“When asked about the methods Ramanujan employed to arrive at his solutions, Hardy said that they were “arrived at by a process of mingled argument, intuition, and induction, of which he was entirely unable to give any coherent account.  He also stated that he had “never met his equal, and can compare him only with Euler or Jacobi.”

K. Srinivasa Rao has said, “As for his place in the world of Mathematics, we quote Bruce C. Berndt: ‘Paul Erdős has passed on to us Hardy’s personal ratings of mathematicians. Suppose that we rate mathematicians on the basis of pure talent on a scale from 0 to 100, Hardy gave himself a score of 25, J. E. Littlewood 30, David Hilbert 80 and Ramanujan 100.’ During a lecture at IIT Madras in May 2011, Berndt stated that over the last 40 years, as nearly all of Ramanujan’s theorems have been proven right, there had been greater appreciation of Ramanujan’s work and brilliance, and that Ramanujan’s work was now pervading many areas of modern mathematics and physics”

For a complete understanding of his brilliance I would encourage you to google him and check out the complete Wikipedia narrative.

 Also, there was a movie made of his life recently tilted “The man that knew Infinity”? I highly recommend it. Not sure if it is available to “free stream”, but it is available for to rent or buy via Amazon. 5