Srinivasa Ramanujan

Srinivasa Ramanujan

Srinivasa Ramanujan

Born: 22nd December, 1887, Erode
Died: 26th April, 1920, Kumbakonam
Spouse: Janakiammal (m. 1909–1920)
Education: Trinity College, Cambridge (1919–1920), University of Cambridge (1914-1919)
Parents: Komalatammal, K. Srinivasa Iyengar

Srinivasa Ramanujan was an Indian mathematician who made significant contributions to mathematical analysis, number theory and continued fractions. At age of 31, Ramanujan was one of the youngest Fellows in the history of the Royal Society.

On 16 January 1913, Ramanujan wrote to G. H. Hardy. Coming from an unknown mathematician, the nine pages of mathematics made Hardy initially view Ramanujan's manuscripts as a possible fraud. Hardy recognized some of Ramanujan's formulae but others "seemed scarcely possible to believe".

After seeing Ramanujan's theorems on continued fractions on the last page of the manuscripts, Hardy said the theorems "defeated me completely; I had never seen anything in the least like them before". Hardy asked a colleague, J. E. Littlewood, to take a look at the papers.

After discussing the papers with Littlewood, Hardy concluded that the letters were "certainly the most remarkable I have received" and that Ramanujan was "a mathematician of the highest quality, a man of altogether exceptional originality and power".

On 8 February 1913 Hardy wrote Ramanujan a letter expressing interest in his work, adding that it was "essential that I should see proofs of some of your assertions". Before his letter arrived in Madras during the third week of February, Hardy contacted the Indian Office to plan for Ramanujan's trip to Cambridge.

Ramanujan was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree by research (this degree was later renamed PhD) in March 1916 for his work on highly composite numbers. The paper was more than 50 pages long and proved various properties of such numbers. Hardy remarked that it was one of the most unusual papers in mathematical research at that time and that Ramanujan showed extraordinary ingenuity in handling it. On 6 December 1917, Ramanujan was elected to the London Mathematical Society. On 2 May 1918, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.

He was elected “for his investigation in Elliptic functions and the Theory of Numbers.” On 13th October 1918, he was the first Indian to be elected a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.

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