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Srinivasa Ramanujan Biography

Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887-1920) is an Indian mathematician who is known for his extraordinary work in the field of Mathematics. His research work was ahead of his time, despite receiving no formal training in maths. In the beginning years, he developed his theories in isolation. He contributed to number of theories, mathematical analysis, continued fractions, infinite series and even to solutions of problems that were considered unsolvable. His genius was recognised during his school days as well when he completed an advanced book on trigonometry by S.L. Loney.

His study of the book ‘A Synopsis of Elementary Results in Pure and Applied Mathematics’ is said to a play a key role in discovering the mathematical genius in him. By his late teens, he had already studied the Bernoulli numbers and also calculated the Euler-Mascheroni constant up to 15 decimal places. He gained recognition after publishing his first paper in the ‘Journal of the Indian Mathematical Society’. He then moved to England and started working with G. H. Hardy, the renowned mathematician. Unfortunately, the world lost him way too soon; Ramanujan died at an early age of 32.

Personal Life

Srinivasa Ramanujan was born on 22 December 1887 to K. Srinivasa Iyengar and Komalatammal in Erode, Madras Presidency. His father was a clerk in a sari shop. He did his schooling from Town Higher Secondary School. Seeing his brilliance in academics, the school awarded him with the K. Ranganatha Rao prize for mathematics. Later on, he attended the Government Arts College, Kumbakonam on scholarship.

Major Works

Along with Hardy, he worked on the partition function P(n) and gave a non-convergent asymptotic series which allows precise computation of the number of partitions of an integer. The work helped in finding asymptotic formulae, called the circle method.

Awards and Achievements

  • In 1918, he was elected as one of the youngest Fellows in the history of Royal Society for his investigation in Elliptic functions and the Theory of Numbers.
  • In the same year, he was the first Indian who was honoured by being elected as a Fellow of Trinity College.

Posthumous Recognition

  • 22 December is celebrated as State IT Day in Tamil Nadu.
  • On his 75th birth anniversary, the Government of India released a stamp picturing Ramanujan.
  • Government Arts College, Kumbakonam where he studied and at the IIT Madras in Chennai celebrate 22 December as Ramanujan Day.
  • In 2011, the Government of India declared 22 December as National Mathematics Day.
  • In 2012, then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declared the year as National Mathematics Year.