Published By: Sougata Dutta

Ramanujan’s Genius and the Tragedy that Befell Upon Him

If there exists a best friend of mathematics then no proof is required to know that it can only be him – the man who befriended infinity.

Srinivasa Ramanujan Iyengar was a mathematician who dreamt up equations and results to the most complex series and analysis. Ramanujan’s was a mind which would not bother for proofs though. To him math came alive every time he closed his eyes. He would run up to the temple and whilst in a trance of worshiping goddess Saraswati he would come up with the most genius formulations and works of mathematics.

Ramanujan and Math: Confluence of faith and logic

Ramanujan’s faith was math. Born to a brahmin household Ramanujan was used to the ways of the religious aficionados. However, to Ramanujan mathematics reigned supreme over any custom or offering. After all that was his offering. Almost every equation that he cooked up in his mind was done during the state of his trance. He would sit down in a comfortable manner to worship Saraswati and then he would sit in front of the idol for as long as he could, till he entered a state of trance. And it was in those moments that his best came to life.

The tragedy: His religion and stay in England

Professor G. H. Hardy of Cambridge had received a letter from a young Ramanujan stating that he understands the nature of numbers. Essentially what mathematicians like to call the number theory – a beaming field of mathematics which constitutes the study of numbers and their behaviours in sets and fields. In a British dominated India Ramanujan broke his vow as a brahmin to not travel overseas and went to work with the professor of Cambridge.

There in that cold land of England amidst the world war and a land where Hinduism and its customs are unknown, Ramanujan starved due to an insufficient intake of food as it was mostly meat. Particularly beef.

Tuberculosis and his final works: A lifetime achievement

Sadly, Ramanujan succumbed to tuberculosis in lieu of his poor health and returned to India promising hardy that he would return to finish his works after he gets well living with his family. Unfortunately, he never returned. But that wasn't an end. He has left enough of his works which are still being studiedstudied to day to understand String Theory and Black Holes and of course the core parts of number theory.