India celebrates National Mathematics Day today in memory of Srinivasa Ramanujan
National Mathematics Day -Srinivasa Ramanujan – Year on year, India celebrates National Mathematics Day on December 22 in memory of ace Mathematician, Srinivasa Ramanujan. Today is the late mathematician’s birth anniversary, who was born in the year 1887 at Erode in Tamil Nadu. The story of Ramanujan’s Tryst with Mathematics is one of the most engaging tales read, depicted and performed through various works of art, says an IE report.
Right from a tender age, Ramanujan had a great passion for mathematics, and at age 12, he had even mastered trigonometry and further developed many theorems on his own without any assistance from his teacher. Ramanujan bagged a scholarship to continue his study at Government Arts College at Kumbakonam. Nevertheless, the budding genius lost the chance to get admitted in that college do to pathetic marks he had scored in other subjects.
Ramanujan was dejected and ran away from home and reached the then Madras (now Chennai) and somehow enrolled himself at Pachaiyappa’s College in Poonamali High Road in Madras. Mathematician Ramaswamy Iyer took pity on him, and with his support, the young Ramanujan joined the Madras Port Trust as a clerk. In 1913, his destiny changed, when he wrote the British international mathematician, GH Hardy sending an astounding math theorem. Hardy realised the genius in Ramanujam and wrote back to the latter inviting him to London.
Recognising the extraordinary work sent to him as samples, Hardy arranged travel for Ramanujan to Cambridge. In his notes, Ramanujan had produced groundbreaking new theorems, including some that Hardy stated, had “defeated (Hardy and his colleagues) completely”, in addition to rediscovering recently proven but highly advanced results.
Within his short life, Ramanujan independently compiled almost 3,900 results, mostly identities and equations while many were entirely novel; his original and highly unconventional results, such as the Ramanujan prime, the Ramanujan theta function, partition formulae and mock theta functions, have opened entirely new vistas of work and inspired a vast amount of further research, as per Wikipedia.
Almost all Ramanujan’s claims have now been proven correct. The Ramanujan Journal, a peer-reviewed scientific journal, was launched to publish work in all areas of mathematics influenced by Ramanujan, and his notebooks – containing summaries of his published and unpublished results – have been analysed and studied for many years since his death as a source of new mathematical ideas. As late as 2011 and again in 2012, researchers continued to discover that little comments in his writings about “simple properties” and “similar outputs” for specific findings were themselves profound and subtle number theory results that remained unsuspected until nearly a century after his death.
What is more, Ramanujan became one of the youngest Fellows of the Royal Society and only the second Indian member, and the first Indian to be elected a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. Of his original letters, Hardy stated that a single look was enough to show they could only have been written by a mathematician of the highest calibre, comparing Ramanujan to other mathematical geniuses such as Euler and Jacobi.
In 1919, ill health – now believed to have been hepatic amoebiasis (a complication from episodes of dysentery many years previously) – compelled Ramanujan’s return to India, where he died in 1920 at the age of 32. His last letters to Hardy, written in January 1920, show that he was continuing to produce new mathematical ideas and theorems. His “lost notebook”, containing discoveries from the last year of his life, caused great excitement among mathematicians when it was rediscovered in 1976.
A deeply religious person, Ramanujan credited his substantial mathematical capacities to divinity and stated that the mathematical knowledge he displayed was revealed to him by his family goddess. “An equation for me has no meaning,” he once said, “unless it expresses a thought of God.”