Each year, December 22 is celebrated as National Mathematics Day in India in honour of one of the brightest minds Srinivasa Ramanujan. The day mark the birth anniversary of the Indian mathematician who made a name for himself around the world at a young age. The National Mathematics Day was declared on December 22 in 2012 by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to celebrate Ramanujan’s achievements.
The main aim of the National Mathematics Day is to raise awareness among people about the importance of mathematics for humanity’s development and progress.
Srinivasa Ramanujan was born on December 22, 1887, in Erode, Madras. A self-taught mathematician, he gained global fame by solving many mathematical problems considered unsolvable at the time.
Ramanujan had no formal education in mathematics which makes his massive contributions to mathematical fields like number theory, mathematical analysis, continued fractions and infinite series nothing short of miraculous.
In 1904, Ramanujan graduated from Town Higher Secondary School in 1904. He won the K Ranganatha Rao prize for mathematics. Besides math, Ramanujan also He attained distinctions among his peers in arithmetic, English, geography, and Tamil.
His genius led to a scholarship and the opportunity to join the Government Arts College in Kumbakonam. However, Ramanujan refused to study any other subject apart from mathematics and this got expelled from the college.
The turning point in his life came when he sent his mathematical work to renowned British mathematician GH Hardy. Ramanujan was working for the Chief Accountant of the Madras Port Trust at the time. The British mathematician presented Ramanujan’s papers to his peers at Trinity College in London. This was the first time that the Indian mathematician’s genius was recognised by the world.
A few months before World War I began, Ramanujan joined the Trinity College and received a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in 2016. On the back of a PhD from Cambridge and several accolades, he earned the membership of the London Mathematical Society in 1917. Then he became a Fellow of the Royal Society for his research on Elliptic Functions and theory of numbers in 2018. He became the first Indian to be elected a Fellow of Trinity College in October of the same year.
He returned to India in 1919. Plagued by health problems all his life, he sadly passed away at the young age of 32 the next year.
Ramanujan’s biggest contributions were to the fields of mathematical analysis, number theory, infinite series, and continued fractions. His work on Ramanujan prime, the Ramanujan theta function, partition formulae and mock theta functions continue to open new areas of research.
Among the most famous are Ramanujan Number- also called the magic number which is 1729. It is the smallest number that can be expressed as a sum of cubes of two different sets of numbers. Ramajuna Square is another mathematical puzzle that enthrals all.
By line: Divya Thearia