The Mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan
The famous Indian mathematician, Srinivasa Aiyangar Ramanujan, lived
from 1887 to 1920. Early in his life he showed astounding prowess at
mathematics, proposing new theorems of trigonometry by the age of
twelve. He published articles in Indian mathematical journals but
received no formal university training. He came to the attention
of famous mathematicians of his day after he wrote to G.H.Hardy, then a
leading English mathematician, proposing new theorems (but without
giving any proofs). Hardy recognized great mathematical insight
in his work and arranged for Ramanujan to move to England in 1913 to
study with him.
remember once going to see him when he was lying ill at Putney. I had
ridden in taxi cab number 1729 and remarked that the number seemed to
me rather a dull one, and that I hoped it was not an unfavorable omen.
'No,' he replied, 'it is a very interesting number; it is the smallest
number expressible as the sum of two cubes in two different ways.'"
1729 is the sum of two cubes in two different ways. What are those two different ways?
What is the smallest number that is the sum of two squares in two different ways?
In 1919 Ramanujan returned to India but was unable to regain his health, dying in 1920 after an incredibly short but productive life. Some of his many notebooks recently resurfaced, and some of them have been shown to contain useful mathematics related to the number Pi. Mathematicians have long been interested in Pi because the means of calculating it have historically given rise to new branches of mathematics. Recent work by Canadian Mathematicians, among others, has produced more and more exact measures of Pi. Go here to get your piece.
Famous Indian Mathematicians
Surface area of a sphere and a cylinderAh yes, parallel lines on a sphere… they eventually all touch. However, when you view the map in an atlas, the lines are perfectly parallel. How does this happen? Well think about this firstly. Imagine the earth is a perfectly formed sphere. Now imagine it is completely surrounded by a map that fits snugly – like a cylinder, with a top and a bottom. The cylinder and sphere have the same height and diameter. Which has the greatest surface area?