A Tribute to Man Who Knew Infinity

As a society, we remember birthdays and death anniversaries of every mundane and corrupt politicians but we seldom honour people who contributed enormously in field of Science and Mathematics. It is birthday of Srinivasa Ramanujan today. It’s true that he didn’t get the honour which he deserved due to colonial rule but situations are no different in present also.
We’ve completed the formality of declaring his birthday as National Mathematics day. We have never tried to teach our children about a genius who was far far ahead of his time. Without any formal education in Mathematics, his contribution to Mathematics is unparalleled in this world. Ramanujan made extraordinary contributions to mathematical analysis , number theory , infinite series , and continued fractions. During his very short lifetime, he derived around 3900 results and most of them are proven correct although some were already known.
In the Scientific world, there are conventional research where we make small contribution in existing pile of knowledge and very few are able to change the paradigms. Ramanujan had started from zero and his results were so complex that there was a missing link which differentiates him from other Mathematicians. There lies a difference between proof and insight. Ramanujan’s works were mostly based on insight. He acknowledged the role of intuition in major scientific breakthrough which shakes the very foundation of dogmatic science which relies heavily on abstract reasoning, logics, and deductions. British Mathematician, G H Hardy compared him with Euler and Jacobi. His achievements were fully understood much later, ultimately, after his death in 1920. His work on ‘Composite Numbers’ started a whole new line of investigations in theory of such numbers.
Ramanujan was a highly spiritual and religious man with pleasant manners. He often said, “An equation for me has no meaning, unless it represents a thought of God.” As we love to forget the contribution of such genius, it won’t let fade the importance of his theories. Ramanujan didn’t had resources so that he could have advertised himself like APJ Abdul Kalaam who established himself among people as a genius although his scientific temper was very mundane as compared to that of Ramanujan, C V Raman, or Satyendranath Bose.
A very very happy birthday to the man who knew infinity!

Published by Satish Verma

Read. Contemplate. Write.

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