Srinivasa Ramanujan’s birth anniversary on December 22 is celebrated as National Mathematics Day every year. Srinivasa Ramanujan, mathematical prodigy, hastily scribbled formulas after formulas on loose sheets of papers. He told his wife, Janaki Ammal, his work would bring laurels and perhaps bring them out of poverty and want on day. The illness did not permit him to write, yet he wrote first on a slate and then copied final results on paper. The sheets of papers, discovered fifty years later, created ripples in the quiet world of mathematics. Armed with this new tool, physicists are today exploring the stuff the universe is made of and trying to understand objects like black holes.
Srinivasa Ramanujan was born on December 22, 1887, in present-day Tamil Nadu.
His breakthrough came in 1913 when he began a postal partnership with the English mathematician GH Hardy at the University of Cambridge in England. Recognizing the extraordinary work sent to him as samples by Ramanujan, Mr Hardy arranged for his travel to Cambridge.
One of his notebooks that contained discoveries from the last year of his life was considered to be lost, but caused great excitement among mathematicians when it was re-discovered in 1976.
He was first Indian to be elected a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.
He compiled 3,900 results (mostly identities and equations), before he lost his life at the age of 32. His infinite series for pi was one of his most celebrated findings.
There is also a museum dedicated to telling Ramanujan’s life story. It is located in Chennai and has many photographs of his home and family, along with letters to and from friends, relatives, etc.
When Ramanujan got married in 1909, he was 12 and his wife Janaki was just 10.
He died at a young age of 32 in 1920 reportedly due to hepatic amoebiasis. He also suffered from dysentery and severe vitamin deficiencies.