Srinivasa Ramanujan

Srinivasa Ramanujan

Born: 22 December 1887

Erode, Madras Presidency (now Tamil Nadu)

Died: 26 April 1920 (aged 32)

Chetput, Madras, Madras Presidency (now Tamil Nadu)

Residence: Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu

Fields: Mathematics

Srinivasa Ramanujan was a largely self-taught pure mathematician. Hindered by poverty and ill health, his highly original work has considerably enriched number theory and, more recently, physics.

 

Beginnings

Srinivasa Ramanujan was born on December 22, 1820 in the town of Erode, in Tamil Nadu, in the south east of India. His father was K. Srinivasa Iyengar, an accounting clerk for a clothing merchant. His mother was Komalatammal, who earned a small amount of money each month as a singer at the local temple.

He was a Brahmin, the Hindu caste of priests and scholars. His mother ensured the boy was in tune with Brahmin traditions and culture. Although his family belonged to the upper caste, they were very poor.

Ramanujan’s parents moved around a lot, and he attended a variety of different elementary schools. By the age of 10, he was the top student, not just in his school, but also in his district.

Early Mathematics

Ramanujan moved on to high school at the age of 10: Kumbakonam Town High School. With access to mathematical books in the school’s library, he quickly found his vocation. By the time he was 12, he had begun serious self-study of mathematics, working through arithmetic and geometric series and cubic equations. He discovered his own method of solving quartic equations.  Read More

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