Movie: Ramanujan: A Prophet of Mathematics Born in a Hindu Family

Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

Srinivasa Ramanujan FRS (/ˈʃrniˌvɑːsə rɑːˈmɑːnʊən/;[1] About this sound listen ; 22 December 1887 – 26 April 1920)[2] was an Indianmathematician who lived during the British Rule in India. Though he had almost no formal training in pure mathematics, he made substantial contributions to mathematical analysisnumber theoryinfinite series, and continued fractions, including solutions to mathematical problems considered to be unsolvable.

Ramanujan has been described as a person of a somewhat shy and quiet disposition, a dignified man with pleasant manners.[56] He lived a simple life at Cambridge.[11]:234,241Ramanujan’s first Indian biographers describe him as a rigorously orthodox Hindu. He credited his acumen to his family goddessMahalakshmi of Namakkal. He looked to her for inspiration in his work[11]:36 and said he dreamed of blood drops that symbolised her consort, Narasimha. Afterward he would receive visions of scrolls of complex mathematical content unfolding before his eyes.[11]:281 He often said, “An equation for me has no meaning unless it represents a thought of God.”[57]

Hardy, his British mentor, cites Ramanujan as remarking that all religions seemed equally true to him.[11]:283 Hardy further argued that Ramanujan’s religious belief had been romanticised by Westerners and overstated—in reference to his belief, not practice—by Indian biographers. At the same time, he remarked on Ramanujan’s strict vegetarianism.[58]

If you watch the whole movie it shows how Ramanujan claims his mathematical equations to be revelations of and from God.

Ramanujan initially developed his own mathematical research in isolation; it was quickly recognized by Indian mathematicians. Seeking mathematicians who could better understand his work, in 1913 he began a postal partnership with the English mathematician G. H. Hardy at the University of CambridgeEngland. Recognizing the extraordinary work sent to him as samples, Hardy arranged travel for Ramanujan to Cambridge. In his notes, Ramanujan had produced groundbreaking new theorems, including some that Hardy stated had “defeated [him and his colleagues] completely”, in addition to rediscovering recently proven but highly advanced results.

During his short life, Ramanujan independently compiled nearly 3,900 results (mostly identities and equations).[3] Many were completely novel; his original and highly unconventional results, such as the Ramanujan prime, the Ramanujan theta functionpartition formulae and mock theta functions, have opened entire new areas of work and inspired a vast amount of further research.[4] Nearly all his claims have now been proven correct.[5]

Suggested reading

How can Hindus think like a Muslim or a Jew, despite the mention of 330 million gods?

2016 Nobel in Physics Shows Again: The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences

Nova Documentary on Mystery of Mathematics

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