(December 22, 1887 – April 26, 1920)

Widely deemed the preeminent math genius in the entire human history, Ramanujan’s acumen stunned the world. He chewed and swallowed Advanced Mathematics while in his teens: without any tutor or designated syllabus. His extraordinary legacies encompassed many fields including: Analysis and Number Theory. He was unknown until his abilities caught the attention of Godfrey Hardy (Cambridge’s Sadleirian Professor of Mathematics from 1931 to 1942), who mentored him. Hardy was baffled when he realized that this autodidact had rediscovered many of the already known theorems: unaware that they have been previously unveiled. As if to put his own originality beyond doubts, Ramanujan produced a string of new works which remade 20th century mathematics. He even solved old problems which were heretofore deemed unresolvable. In his short life of 32 years, he left colossal footprints. His nearly 4000 equations and identities will keep researchers toiling for centuries. If you think that Albert Einstein was brilliant, then, you would be blown away by learning more about Srinivasa Ramanujan. Numerous professors became famous just by proving one of his many results. Here is how Hardy described their correspondences: “His letters were the most remarkable I ever received, and his theorems defeated me completely. I had never seen anything like them before. He was a mathematician of the highest order: a man of exceptional originality and power.” When questioned about his exceeding brilliance and mesmerizing achievements, Ramanujan attributed everything to God; summarizing them thus: “An equation, for me is meaningless, unless it expresses a thought of God.”

14 Comments

  1. The life-story and works of Srinivasa Ramanujan are still a mystery to me. Just can’t get my head around that. What an outstanding genius!

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