Srinivasa Ramanujan

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Sir, an equation has no meaning for me unless it expresses a thought of GOD.

Srinivasa Aiyangar Ramanujan (Tamil: ஸ்ரீனிவாஸ ஐயங்கார் ராமானுஜன்) (22 December 188726 April 1920) was a Indian mathematician and autodidact, noted for his extraordinary achievements in the field of mathematical analysis, number theory, infinite series, and continued fractions. In his uniquely self-developed mathematical research he not only rediscovered known theorems but also produced brilliant new work, prompting his mentor G. H. Hardy to compare his brilliance to that of Euler and Gauss. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society, and India now observes his birthday as National Mathematics Day.

Quotes[edit]

  • One day he was explaining a relation to me; then he suddenly turned round and said, "Sir, an equation has no meaning for me unless it expresses a thought of GOD."
    • Shiyali Ramamrita Ranganathan, in Ramanujan, the Man and the Mathematician (1967), p. 88
    • Variant:
    • An equation means nothing to me unless it expresses a thought of God.

Quotes about Ramanujan[edit]

Srinivasa Ramanujan was the strangest man in all of mathematics, probably in the entire history of science. ~ Michio Kaku
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Every positive integer is one of Ramanujan's personal friends. ~ John Littlewood
  • Paul Erdős has passed on to us Hardy's personal ratings of mathematicians. Suppose that we rate mathematicians on the basis of pure talent on a scale from 0 to 100, Hardy gave himself a score of 25, Littlewood 30, Hilbert 80 and Ramanujan 100.
    • Bruce C. Berndt in Ramanujan's Notebooks : Part I (1994), "Introduction", p. 14
  • He could remember the idiosyncrasies of numbers in an almost uncanny way. It was Littlewood who said that every positive integer was one of Ramanujan's personal friends. I remember once going to see him when he was ill at Putney. I had ridden in taxi cab number 1729 and remarked that the number seemed to me rather a dull one, and that I hoped it was not an unfavorable omen. "No," he replied, "it is a very interesting number; it is the smallest number expressible as the sum of two cubes in two different ways."
    • G. H. Hardy, in Ramanujan : Twelve Lectures on Subjects Suggested by His Life and Work (1940), the number 1729 is now known as the Hardy–Ramanujan number after this famous anecdote (1729 = 1³3 + 12³3 = 9³3 + 10³3).
  • Srinivasa Ramanujan was the strangest man in all of mathematics, probably in the entire history of science. He has been compared to a bursting supernova, illuminating the darkest, most profound corners of mathematics, before being tragically struck down by tuberculosis at the age of 33, like Riemann before him.
    • Michio Kaku, in Hyperspace : A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and the Tenth Dimension (1995), p.172
  • Every positive integer is one of Ramanujan's personal friends.
    • John Littlewood, on hearing of the taxicab incident, regarding the number 1729.
  • Euler and Ramanujan are mathematicians of the greatest importance in the history of constants (and of course in the history of Mathematics...)
    • E. W. Middlemast
  • Srinivasa Ramanujan, discovered by the Cambridge mathematician G. H. Hardy, whose great mathematical findings were beginning to be appreciated from 1915 to 1919. His achievements were to be fully understood much later, well after his untimely death in 1920. For example, his work on the highly composite numbers (numbers with a large number of factors) started a whole new line of investigations in the theory of such numbers.
    • Jayant Narlikar, in Scientific Edge : The Indian Scientist from Vedic to Modern Times (2003)

External links[edit]

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