National Mathematics Day: Celebrating Srinivasa Ramanujan's birthday
India is celebrating the birthday of legendary mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan Aiyangar on Wednesday (December 22). The day is celebrated as National Mathematics Day or Maths Day.
Ramanujan was a prodigious Indian mathematician who, despite having no formal training in advanced mathematical concepts, mastered trigonometry at the age of 12 and went on to make great contributions to mathematical concepts such as number theory, infinite series and continued fractions.
He was born on December 22, 1887, in Tamil Nadu’s Erode. Ramanujan had enrolled in Madras’ Pachaiyappa College at the age of 14.
Ramanujan was working at Madras Port Trust in 1912 where his prowess was recognised by some of his co-workers, one of whom referred him to professor GH Hardy of Trinity College, Cambridge University. He met Hardy in 1913, a year after which he went to Trinity College where he honed his craft under the Englishman’s tutelage.
He received his degree from Cambridge in 1916 and went on to publish several brilliant papers on his subject with Hardy’s help.
Last year, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ wrote a piece in Hindustan Times in which he called Ramanujan the “epitome of mathematical excellence”.
History of National Mathematics Day
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had in 2012 announced December 22 as National Mathematics Day, while paying tribute to Ramanujan in Chennai.
Since then, the day is celebrated as National Mathematics Day every year.
Ramanujan’s influence on popular culture
The mathematician has always fascinated the world by his theorems and other achievements.
The life of this exceptionally gifted mathematician was portrayed by British-Indian actor Dev Patel in 2015 film ‘The Man Who Knew Infinity’. It explores the beautiful friendship between Ramanujan and Hardy, and sheds light on his childhood in India.
Ramanujan died at the young age of 32 owing to deteriorating health on April 26, 1920.