Srinivasa Ramanujan Biography

Srinivasa Ramanujan Biography

Srinivasa Ramanujan, there is no need for an introduction to the famous mathematician. However, there is a brief history of his life, achievement and contribution to mathematics. He was born on 22 December 1887 in Erode, Madras Presidency, at his grandparents’ house. His father’s name was Srinivasa Iyengar, a clerk in a local sari shop, and his mother was Komalatammal, a housewife. He was well-talented in singing traditional songs and sang in a local temple. The family belonged to orthodox Brahmin Iyengar, so Ramanujan lived in a conventional house in his childhood in Kumbakonam. His mother gave birth to another three babies. Unfortunately, all died at a very early age.

Ramanujan Education

At first, Ramanujan joined a local school in Kanchipuram near Madras, present-day Chennai. Later he joined Kangayan Primary School in Kumbakonam. Later, he joined a primary school in Madras. But he didn’t like the schools in Madras, so he again came back to Kumbakonam to live with his family. Whenever he returned to Kumbakonam, Ramanujan spent most of the time with his mother. Generally, theirs was a traditional family, so he learned the Epics and Puranas of Hinduism. He also attended the traditional pujas in the local temples with his mother. These activities made him separate cultural habits. The same patterns made him uncomfortable in England.
In 1897 at the age of 10, he passed the preliminary examinations in English, Geography and arithmetic. In the same year, he joined Higher Secondary School in Kumbakonam. There he felt very interested to learn mathematics. At the age of 11, he practised the mathematic equations of college students. Surprisingly he started to discover sophisticated theorems in Trigonometry. In school, he became a well-talented and bright student. He was very interested in geometry and infinite series. Since then, he never looks back on discovering his formulas in cubic equations and quadratic geometry.

Ramanujan, as a Mathematician

In 1903 at the age of 16, Ramanujan studied the famous theories in mathematics in various branches. He looked at the ‘A Synopsis of Elementary Results in Pure and Applied mathematics, G.S.Carr’s”. The study made Ramanajun an enlightened mathematician to widen his knowledge of the numbering system. He did many experiments, especially in Bernoulli numbers. So his friends commented he was a ‘rarely understood person’.
In 1904 he completed his Higher Secondary School education. The school headmaster applauded him for his genius attitude in mathematics. He also cooperated with him in getting scholarships for his further education. Later, Srinivasa Ramanujan joined Government Arts College. But there, he focused only on mathematics, neglected other subjects, and failed. His poverty made him leave college to search for a post to sustain life. In the meantime, he met V. Ramaswamy Aiyer, the founder of the Indian Mathematical Society. The meeting benefits Ramanujan to recognition as a brilliant mathematician in Madras society. The fame made him join as a researcher at the University of Madras.

Srinivasa Ramanujan Staying in England

The famous English mathematician G.H. Hardy received a letter from his office clerk in India in 1913. The letter fully contained the theories on various algebra, calculus and integrations subjects. The formulas impressed the English mathematician. Then G.H Hardy discussed with his collaborator J.E. Littlewood and concluded that Ramanujan was not ordinary. Immediately, he wrote a letter to Ramanujan and made him a scholar at the University of Madras. The position made Ramanujan overcome the debts by drawing double his clerk’s salary. However, Hardly wanted to take Ramanujan to England to do further experiments in Mathematics and on various equations. But his mother didn’t accept the proposal due to orthodox Hindu beliefs of travelling to foreign lands. Finally, Ramanujan convinced his mother and wife and went to England in 1914. There he stayed for five years with the collaboration of Hardy.

Ramanujan death

Since his childhood days, Ramanujan had been facing health problems. As a Brahmin boy, he followed a rigorous traditional diet. When he was in England, he didn’t have proper familiar food. Especially during the First World War, he didn’t have adequate nutrition to strengthen his health. So he was diagnosed with a severe vitamin deficiency. He continued his experiments even though his health became worse. So in 1919, he came back to Kumbakonam. However, his health worsened, and he died in 1920 at the early age of 32. Then his wife Janaki Ammal migrated to Bombay, returned to Triplicane and stayed there until her death.