Ramanujan and The man who knew Infinity

“The Man who knew infinity,” tells us a story  about Srinivasa Ramanujan …Who by many is considered an equal to Issac Newton. Srinivasa Ramanujan was the strangest man in all of mathematics, probably in the entire history of science. ~ Michio Kaku

ramanujan cambridge

In the realm of maths, only a few make a mark . Many of us have had bitter battles with Maths.Yes, Count me in too , I am also one of those who used to have a math phobia , but We Indians always have been recognized through history to be stalwarts in math but most Indians today would be not able to name many of the famous  Indian mathematicians from Aryabatta who discovered the position of nine planets and stated that these planets revolve around the sun. He also stated the correct number of days in a year that is 365.

Brahmagupta who’s most significant contribution was the introduction of zero(0) to the mathematics. Satyendranath Bose Known for his collaboration with Albert Einstein. He is best known for his work on quantum mechanics in the early 1920s, providing the foundation for Bose–Einstein statistics and the theory of the Bose–Einstein condensate. Narendra  and Karmarkar Narendra Karmarkar is known for his Karmarkar’s algorithm. He is listed as a highly cited researcher by Institute for Scientific Information.

Recently I watched the Dev Patel starer “The man who knew infinity”   the movie is good in most frames , a bit slow paced at times but with an exceptional performance by Dev Patel (S. Ramanujan) and also great supporting acting by Jeremy Irons as G.H. Hardy and Toby Jones as Littlewood . Arundathi Nag has a small role as Ramanujan’s mother (Please for god sake give this woman more roles as she is one of the best theater actresses around).


During his short life, Ramanujan independently compiled nearly 3,900 results (mostly identities and equations).Nearly all his claims have now been proven correct, although some were already known. His original and highly unconventional results, such as the Ramanujan prime and the Ramanujan theta function, have inspired a vast amount of further research.I could clearly see through this movie, the effort put my Ramanujan is a truly inspirational story .The true test of time in his life was when Ramanujan was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree by research (this degree was later renamed Ph.D.) in March 1916 for his work on highly composite numbers, the first part of which was published as a paper in the Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society. The paper was over 50 pages and proved various properties of such numbers. Hardy remarked that it was one of the most unusual papers seen in mathematical research at that time and that Ramanujan showed extraordinary ingenuity in handling it.On 6 December 1917, he was elected to the London Mathematical Society. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1918, the second Indian to do so, following Ardaseer Cursetjee in 1841, and at age 31 he was one of the youngest Fellows in the history of the Royal Society. He was elected “for his investigation in Elliptic functions and the Theory of Numbers.” On 13 October 1918, he became the first Indian to be elected a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. The whole history of man like Ramanujan is difficult to write in less than 100 pages , Ramanujan was mentioned in the 1997 film Good Will Hunting, in a scene where professor Gerald Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgard) explains to Sean Maguire (Robin Williams) the genius of Will Hunting (Matt Damon) by comparing him to Ramanujan.


What I really wanted to convey was the sacrifice and the determination to create something so important is not easy it takes a lot of courage and sometimes a lifetime to achieve these deeds many can only imagine what Ramanujan would have gone through . It sometimes feels weird, when I see this generation waste so much time , energy and resources in activities which don’t even matter. Does our generation truly lack the appetite for such endeavors, when will we see the next Indian make waves in the world of maths ? for now even today Ramanujan equations are used to study black holes.This story of a humble being from madras made me feel compelled to achieve greatness in one’s own way. For those who want to experience a figment of Ramanujan’s journey , I suggest you watch the man who knew infinity. One of the best lines in the movie and I quote Ramanujan ”  An equation means nothing to me unless it expresses a thought of God “.


About Author

Avin Chakravarthy

Well, a person who believes in action speaks louder than words... B.E in chemical engineering ,Blue blooded Cottonian.Worships nature ( Not a Phagan so to say, all I mean to say is, I am with the folks who shut poisonous industries down ) We don’t often have time to consider all the underlying stuff that gives our work shape, character, and meaning, and that time won’t ever appear on its own. But we can choose it. Even in the crazy spells—and maybe especially then, when we’re making so many important decisions.It’s time to recognize that many of us in nominally separate fields and industries are working on the same problem from slightly different angles.What's up people is the best way to say hello and we mean business.


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