Why We Celebrate Ramanujan Birthday as National Mathematics Day?

Why We Celebrate Ramanujan Birthday as National Mathematics Day?

December 22, 2022 - 11:24 am

Srinivasa Ramanujan The Real Hero of  Robert Kanigel's “The Man Who Knew Infinity” 

The nation is celebrating the National Mathematics Day today in commemoration of one of the greatest minds of the 20th centuary Srinivasa Ramanujan. This day came into recognition after In 2012, the then-prime minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, announced December 22 to be National Mathematics Day. This day is the 134th birth anniversary of Ramanujan and being celebrated to honour the life and achievements of Ramanujan and observe the importance of mathematics and aggrandisement and recent discoveries made in the area should be made more widely known. 

Srinivasa Ramanuja’s Early Life

Srinivasa Ramanujan opened his eyes on December 22, 1887 into a Tamil Brahmin Iyengar family in Erode, Madras Presidency (now Tamil Nadu, India) at his maternal grandparent's residence. His father K. Srinivasa Iyengar was an accounting clerk for a clothing merchant and his mother Komalatammal a housewife who sang at a local temple. He belonged to a high caste and poor family. Due to his parents moving around a lot, he had to attend a variety of different elementary schools. He married Janakiammal in July 1909. 

Srinivasa Ramanuja’s Education 

He passed his primary examinations in English, Tamil, geography, and arithmetic, and with the highest marks in the district in November 1897. He first encountered formal mathematics when he enrolled in Town Higher Secondary School that same year. He enrolled himself at the Government College in Kumbakonam in 1903. He received a scholarship at the University of Madras in 1903, but he lost it in the years that followed because of his dislike for non-mathematical subjects in favour of mathematics. Then, he entered Madras' Pachaiyappa College at the age of 14. Ramanujan started working as a clerk for the Madras Port Trust in 1912. Some of his co-workers there recognised his mathematical prowess, and one of them made him aware about Professor GH Hardy of Trinity College, Cambridge University. In 1913, shortly after meeting Hardy, he enrolled in Trinity College. Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree was bestowed on him in 1916. Several papers were published on his topic with Hardy's assistance. They even collaborated on a number of projects together.

Srinivasa Ramanuja’s End year

In 1917, he developed TB. In 1919, after experiencing a health improvement, he was able to return to India. The next year, on 26 April, he passed away. He left behind three notebooks, a few pages, and what is referred to as the "lost notebook," which held a number of unpublished findings. Mathematicians continued to support these conclusions after his passing. Ramanujan once asserted that a Hindu deity by the name of Namakkal gave him equations and hypotheses to prove throughout his lifetime, which he used to resolve while awake.

Srinivasa Ramanujan’s Love for Mathematics

When he was 11 years old, he learnt his math skills from two college students who were house guests. Later, he borrowed a book on advanced trigonometry written by S. L. Loney and mastered it by himself. He developed his own theorems by 13 years old. Academic prizes and achievement certificates were embracing him at the age of 14 which he kept receiving throughout his time in school. In addition, he took a math exam in half the time given and demonstrated proficiency with geometry and infinite series. Because his peers were scared by his mathematical prowess, he had been abstained from any friends in school.

Srinivasa Ramanujan’s Major Works 

He demonstrated how to resolve cubic equations in 1902 bolstered by his own techniques. At the age of 15, he acquired a copy of Synopsis of Elementary Results in Pure and Applied Mathematics, 2 Vol. by George Shoobridge Carr with thousands of theorems in it. He carefully examined the book's material before going beyond it to create his own theorems and concepts. This book plays a crucial role in igniting his genius. According to reports, he independently created, studied, and calculated the Euler-Mascheroni constant to 15 decimal places. His research interests include number theory, continuing fractions, infinite series, and mathematical analysis. In addition, he made important contributions to the theory of divergent series, the elliptic integrals, the Riemann series, the hypergeometric series, and the functional equations of the zeta function. He is believed to have independently gathered 3,900 results and developed his own theorems.

Srinivasa Ramanujan’s Honour and Awards

After meeting V Ramaswamy Aiyer, the founder of the Indian Academic Society, in 1910, he started to garner respect in Madras mathematical circles, which led to the University of Madras including him as a researcher. Ramanujan received a membership invitation to the London Mathematical Society in 1917. The following year, he was elected to the esteemed Royal Society in appreciation of his work on Elliptic Functions and number theory. He was also the first Indian to be selected as a Trinity College Fellow. Ramanujan had no formal experience in pure mathematics, but throughout his brief life, he had a significant impact on the field. His life and rise to popularity are portrayed in Robert Kanigel's biography, "The Man Who Knew Infinity." In a movie with the same name that was released in 2015. His works for about two decades will keep Mathematicians busy for centuries.