Srinivasa Ramanujan

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  • Topic: Srinivasa Ramanujan, University of Cambridge, G. H. Hardy
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  • Published : April 25, 2005
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Srinivasa Ramanujan was one of India's greatest mathematical geniuses. He made contributions to the analytical theory of numbers and worked on elliptic functions, continued fractions, and infinite series. Ramanujan was born in his grandmother's house in Erode on December 22, 1887. When Ramanujan was a year old his mother took him to the town of Kumbakonam, near Madras. His father worked in Kumbakonam as a clerk in a cloth merchant's shop. When he was five years old, Ramanujan went to the primary school in Kumbakonam although he would attend several different primary schools before entering the Town High School in Kumbakonam in January 1898. At the Town High School, Ramanujan did well in all his school subjects and showed himself as a talented student. In 1900 he began to work on his own on mathematics summing geometric and arithmetic series. Ramanujan was shown how to solve cubic equations in 1902 and he went on to find his own method to solve the quartic. It was in the Town High School that Ramanujan came across a mathematics book by G. S. Carr called Synopsis of Elementary Results in Pure Mathematics. Ramanujan used this to teach himself mathematics. The book contained theorems, formulas and short proofs. It also contained an index to papers on pure mathematics. 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 numbers, which is entirely his own independent discovery. Ramanujan, on the strength of his good schoolwork, was given a scholarship to the Government College in Kumbakonam, which he entered in 1904. However the following year his scholarship was not renewed because Ramanujan devoted more and more of his time to mathematics and neglected his other subjects. Without money he was soon in difficulties and, without telling his parents, he ran away to the town of Vizagapatnam. He continued his mathematical work, and at this time he...
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