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Title : Srinivasa Ramanujan Previous topic PreviousNext Next topic

Srinivasa Ramanujan was one of the India's greatest mathematical geniuses who, with almost no formal training in pure mathematics, made extraordinary contributions to mathematical analysis, number theory, infinite series, and continued fractions. He made wonderful contributions to the field of advanced mathematics. He made substantial contributions to the analytical theory of numbers and worked on 'elliptic functions', 'continued fractions', and 'infinite series'. Srinivasa Ramanujan was a great Mathematician, who became world famous at the age of twenty-six.

Ramanujan was born on December 22, 1887 in his grandmother's house in Erode, a small village of Chennai, Tamilnadu, India. He was the son of K. Srinivasa Iyengar & Komalatammal. His father worked in Kumbakonam as a clerk in a cloth merchant's shop and his mother was a housewife and also sang at local temple. When Ramanujan was a year old, his mother took him to the town of Kumbakonam, near Chennai.

When he was about five years old, Ramanujan admitted to the primary school in Kumbakonam although he would attend several different primary schools before entering the Town High School in Kumbakonam at the age of ten in January 1898.At the age of eleven he was lent books on advanced trigonometry written by S. L. Loney by two lodgers at his home who studied at the Government College. He mastered them by the age of thirteen. Ramanujan was a bright student, winning academic prizes in high school.

At age of 16 his life took a decisive turn after he obtained a book titled" A Synopsis of Elementary Results in Pure and Applied Mathematics". The book was simply a compilation of thousands of mathematical results, most set down with little or no indication of proof. The book generated Ramanujan's interest in mathematics and he worked through the book's results and beyond. By 1904 Ramanujan had begun to undertake deep research. He investigated the series (1/n) and calculated Euler's constant to 15 decimal places. He began to study the Bernoulli numbers, although this was entirely his own independent discovery. He was given a scholarship to the Government College in Kumbakonam which he entered in 1904. But he neglected his other subjects at the cost of mathematics and failed in college examination. He dropped out of the college.

On 14 July 1909, he married a nine-year-old girl his mother arranged for him. However, Ramanujan did not live with his wife until she was 12-years-old.

He was so interested in mathematics that he learned on his own. He found out new formulas for solving mathematical problems and wrote articles about them. Professor Hardy a scientist in the Cambridge University saw one his article and impressed by his knowledge, took Ramanujan to England. Ramanujan was considered as the master of theory of numbers. The most outstanding of his contributions was his formula for p (n), the number of 'partitions' of 'n'. It was in 1914, while he was working in Trinity College, he developed the 'Number Theory' and for his valuable contribution, was elected the 'fellow of Trinity College' on October 18, 1917. He returned to India in 1919 and began Research.

Ramanujan continued to develop his mathematical ideas and began to pose problems and solve problems in the journal of the Indian Mathematical society. He developed relations between elliptic modular equations in 1910. After publication of a brilliant research paper on Bernoulli numbers in 1911 in the Journal of the Indian Mathematical Society he gained recognition for his work. Despite his lack of a University education, he was becoming a well-known personality in the Madras area as a mathematical genius.

Ramanujan was elected as fellow of the Cambridge Philosophical Society in 1918. At the same time, he was elected as fellow of the Royal Society of London. This was a great honor to him and his health seemed to improve.
Ramanujan sailed to India on 27 February 1919 arriving on 13 March. However his health was very poor and, despite medical treatment, he died on April 6, 1920.

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