Srinivas Ramanujan: An Enigma

Posted on Posted in Unconventional Personalities

From the decades it has been a prominent question for all intellectuals that, “Intelligence” is a natural gift or it can earn by putting gradual efforts? And off course, people seems to have a binary approach towards this issue. Some say few people come with brilliance in a particular area while other earn it by hard work and putting relentless efforts. Well, talking about my opinion. I have not come to conclusion yet! Because I study many intellectual people some of them seems intellectual by birth and some of them seems to earn it by hard work.

Well, I am going to talk about one of such kind to whom scientific community still not able to understand! His name is Srinivas Ramanujan a mathematician of profound originality as describes by Pro. Hardy. What makes Ramanujan so unique? Coming from an ordinary background and even with the limitation of knowledge (without completing university education), he makes into one of the greatest institutes of the world i.e. Cambridge university! His notebooks still surprise to the eminent mathematician of the world and depth of his theories are unmatchable. Few of his formulas are used in most advanced areas of astrophysics i.e. String theory and Black Holes. That’s the reason it is hard to believe that those theories were given by young man under his 30!

These functions found in the last notebook of Ramanujan. No one understood a value of these function at that time ! Currently, it is used in the most advanced theory of physics i.e. String theory

Another day I was reading Hyperspace by Pro Michio Kaku where what author says about Ramanujan is interesting. “Srinivasa Ramanujan was the strangest man in all of the mathematics, probably in the entire history of science. He has been compared to bursting supernova, illuminating the darkest, most profound corners of mathematics

Ramanujan has been compared to a bursting supernova, illuminating the darkest, most profound corners of mathematicsClick To Tweet before being tragically struck down by tuberculosis at the age of 33… Working in total isolation from the main currents of his field, he was able to rederive 100 years’ worth of Western mathematics on his own”

 

 

When asked about how he come to such profound mathematical ideas, “Goddess Namagiri told me this while praying or sleeping” this was his typical response! Even if you or atheist you cannot do anything about this.
I was also skeptical about this notion but then I start thinking, when other scientist says that they got their ideas while roaming around a beach or while bathing then we never ask a question and never associate beach or process of bathing with success of those scientists. So why should we become so skeptical about Ramanujan’s inspiration? By saying so I am not denying the fact that Srinivas Ramanujan was working very hard on his ideas. But the fact that he was not formally trained in mathematics so whenever he used to come with a new concept, new ideas it becomes a most difficult task for any mathematician to understand the depth of those theories!

Once considered impossible to solve Ramanujan come up with a formula of partition for the composite numbers.

His work on Partition was remarkable proof of his incomprehensible brilliance! There is a lot of theories under his names like Ramanujan Conjecture, Ramanujan Prime, Ramanujan Theta Function,Ramanujan sum, Ramanujan master theorem and what not! Well, I love Ramanujan’s infinite series most.So the mathematician like Ramanujan always shook the very foundation of the scientific world. However, you try to understand his brilliance you will always find the substance which you don’t understand…

Post Script: Professor Hardy; mentor of Ramanujan says “Suppose that I rate mathematicians on the basis of pure talent on a scale from 0 to 100. I will rate myself a score of 25, Littlewood 30, Hilbert 80 and Ramanujan 100.” That’s the reason mathematician used to call him a “Bursting Supernova” !!!

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