The all time great mathematical genius, Srinivasa Ramanujan was born in a poor Brahmin family in Erode (Tamilnadu, India) in the year 1887. He showed a great interest towards mathematics even at the age of ten. He was inspired by G.S.Carr's Synopsis of Elementary Results in Pure Mathematics which contained around 5000 problems. Although he was a genius in mathematics he could not concentrate in other subjects. Due to this he failed in his high school examinations.
Srinivasa Ramanujan goes to England
As he grew up, he needed support for his studies. His family being poor could not support his needs. Meanwhile he got married to Janakiammal and was badly in need of a job. He managed to get a job in the General's Office at Chennai. In 1913, when Ramanujan was working as a clerk, he sent some of his works on mathematical theorems to the English mathematician, Prof.G.H.Hardy who was a Fellow of Trinity College. Prof.Hardy replied to him, and he started writing proofs of his works to the professor. Prof.Hardy decided to bring this genius to England. In 1914, he started his journey to England and he joined Trinity College. Prof.Hardy was amazed by Ramanujan's work in infinite series, continued fractions, elliptic functions etc. It was unbelievable for him to see that a person without proper elementary education could do such wonderful work which even professors like him could not. His works were also used in areas of physics such as statistical mechanics. In 1916, University of Cambridge awarded him the Bachelor of Science degree. In 1918, he became the first Indian to be elected as the Fellow of the Royal Society of London. Later in the same year, he was also given the Fellowship of Trinity College.
Ramanujan's stay in England brought him serious illness. As a Brahmin he had some religious restrictions in his food habits. Moreover the climate was entirely different. He used to work hard and had stressful studies for long hours without thinking about his health. All this contributed to his illness. He returned to India in 1919. At home he continued with his work on formulas. He passed away at Kumbakonam, in the year 1920.
Ramanujan made many new discoveries and rediscovered older theorems. All his ideas were recorded in his notebooks which is a great reference for mathematicians even today. The quantity and quality of the work done by him in such a short span of life cannot be attained by any one else with normal life span. During his five years in England, he published 21 papers which are included in "Collected Papers of Srinivasa Ramanujan".
Award and Recognition
Numerous recognitions were awarded to him. In 1992, the Ramanujan Museum was started at Royapuram. The Ramanujan Institute for Advanced Study in Mathematics under the University of Madras is also established to honor him. In his honor India celebrated the year 2012 as the National Mathematics Year and December 22 is celebrated as the National Mathematics Day every year. Even after a century, his works are the greatest reference for mathematical students. We Indians are really proud of this great genius of our nation.