Srinivasa Ramanujan

1655 Words May 7th, 2005 7 Pages
Srinivasa Ramanujan was one of India's greatest mathematical geniuses. He made contributions to the analytical theory of numbers and worked on elliptic functions, continued fractions, and infinite series.
Ramanujan was born in his grandmother's house in Erode on December 22, 1887. When Ramanujan was a year old his mother took him to the town of Kumbakonam, near Madras. His father worked in Kumbakonam as a clerk in a cloth merchant's shop.
When he was five years old, Ramanujan went to the primary school in Kumbakonam although he would attend several different primary schools before entering the Town High School in Kumbakonam in January 1898. At the Town High School, Ramanujan did well in all his school subjects and showed himself as a
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Ramachandra Rao told him to return to Madras and he tried, unsuccessfully, to arrange a scholarship for Ramanujan. In 1912 Ramanujan applied for the post of clerk in the accounts section of the Madras Port Trust. Ramanujan was appointed to the post of clerk and began his duties on 1 March 1912. Ramanujan was quite lucky to have a number of people working round him with training in mathematics. In fact the Chief Accountant for the Madras Port Trust, S N Aiyar, was trained as a mathematician and published a paper On the distribution of primes in 1913 on Ramanujan's work. The professor of civil engineering at the Madras Engineering College, T. Griffith was also interested in Ramanujan's abilities and, having been educated at University College London, knew the professor of mathematics there, namely M. Hill. He wrote to Hill on 12 November 1912 sending some of Ramanujan's work and a copy of his 1911 paper on Bernoulli numbers.
Hill replied in a fairly encouraging way but showed that he had failed to understand Ramanujan's results on divergent series. The recommendation to Ramanujan that he read Bromwich's Theory of infinite series did not please Ramanujan much. Ramanujan wrote to E. W. Hobson and H. F. Baker trying to interest them in his results but neither replied. In January 1913 Ramanujan wrote to G H Hardy having seen a copy of his 1910 book Orders of infinity.
Hardy studied the long list of unproved theorems which Ramanujan enclosed with