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Srinivasa Ramanujan and his contribution to mathematics

Srinivasa Ramanujan and his contribution to mathematics
IndiaIndia2 min read
Srinivasa Ramanujan, the mathematical genius, came to be recognized only posthumously for his incredible contribution to the world of Mathematics. Leaving this world at the young age of 32, Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887-1920) contributed a great deal to mathematics that only a few could overtake in their lifetime.

Born in Erode (Tamil Nadu), Ramanujan demonstrated that he had an exceptional intuitive grasp of mathematics at a very young age. He began developing his theories in mathematics and published his first paper in 1911. Infact, he was the second Indian to be included as a Fellow of the Royal Society 9a fellowship of the world’s most respected and famous scientists) in 1918.

The field of number theory in mathematics was enriched with his intuitive research and his vast contribution. Every year, Srinivasa Ramanujan’s birth anniversary on December 22 is commemorated as National Mathematics Day.

A wizard of intuition

Ramanujan has been recognized as one of the greatest mathematicians of his time. Surprisingly, he never had any formal training in mathematics. Most of his mathematics discoveries were based on sheer intuition, and most of them were proved to be right much later. GH Hardy, a famous British Mathematician, mentored him at Cambridge and encouraged Ramanujan to publish his findings in several papers.

Inspiring legacy

The Indian mathematician had few opportunities during his lifetime to showcase his talents. Still, his passion for giving his best to mathematics did not hold him back from leaving back his legacy for the world to marvel at. Ramanujan died at the age of 32 after contracting tuberculosis. But he has left behind a legacy that continues to inspire mathematicians to this day.

Ramanujan’s contributions to mathematics

  • Ramanujan compiled around 3,900 results consisting of equations and identities. One of his most treasured findings was his infinite series for pi. This series forms the basis of many algorithms we use today. He gave several fascinating formulas to calculate the digits of pi in many unconventional ways.
  • He discovered a long list of new ideas to solve many challenging mathematical problems, which gave a significant impetus to the development of game theory. His contribution to game theory is purely based on intuition and natural talent and remains unrivalled to this day.
  • He elaborately described the mock theta function, which is a concept in the realm of modular form in mathematics. Considered an enigma till sometime back, it is now recognized as holomorphic parts of mass forms.
  • One of Ramanujan’s notebooks was discovered by George Andrews in 1976 in the library at Trinity College. Later the contents of this notebook were published as a book.
  • 1729 is known as the Ramanujan number. It is the sum of the cubes of two numbers 10 and 9. For instance, 1729 results from adding 1000 (the cube of 10) and 729 (the cube of 9). This is the smallest number that can be expressed in two different ways as it is the sum of these two cubes. Interestingly, 1729 is a natural number following 1728 and preceding 1730.
  • Ramanujan’s contributions stretch across mathematics fields, including complex analysis, number theory, infinite series, and continued fractions.
Ramanujan’s other notable contributions include hypergeometric series, the Riemann series, the elliptic integrals, the theory of divergent series, and the functional equations of the zeta function.

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