(December 22, 1887 – April 26 1920)

Self-taught and unassuming, Srinivasa Ramanujan was the superb genius whose mathematical acumen stunned the world. He chewed and swallowed Advanced Mathematics while in his teens: without tutor or designated syllabus. His extraordinary legacies were in Continued Fractions, Analysis, and Number Theory. He was unknown until his abilities caught the attention of Godfrey Hardy (the Sadleirian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge from 1931 to 1942) who later mentored him. Hardy was speechless when he realized that this autodidact had rediscovered 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 are enough to keep mathematicians busy for a century. If you think that Albert Einstein was brilliant, then, you would be blown away by learning more about Ramanujan. Several professors achieved fame just by proving one of his many results. Here is what Hardy said about him: “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.” Regarding his superlative brilliance, Ramanujan attributed both his ingenuities and achievements to God. He summarized it thus: “An equation, for me is meaningless, unless it represents a thought of God.”


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