Mathematics is the pillar of Science and Technology. The advancement of human civilization can be somewhat attributed to this subject. Many modern discourses such as Numerology also have their origin in Mathematics. The credit for all these belongs to one and only Mr Srinivasa Ramanujan. To pay tribute to him, 22nd December, his birthday is celebrated as the National Mathematics Day. The Theory of Numbers developed by him became an asset, based on which, infinite series, permutation and combination and even probability were developed. The Law of Averages and even the logic of mathematical analysis were invented by this great mathematician.
The main motto of mathematics day celebration is to make people aware of the significance of numbers in life. According to Ramanujan, “Numbers do speak”. On this very day, several schools and colleges till date organize camps and training for both the teachers and students to enrich their mathematical skills.
The National Academy of Sciences, India every year pay homage to this mathematician with a two-day workshop where the contributions of the Indian mathematicians like Brahmagupta and Aryabhata were discussed followed by presentations of the students. This idea cropped up in 2012 by UNESCO who agreed to sign a joint venture with India to spread the importance of mathematics throughout the globe.
Dr Manmohan Singh, the then Prime Minister of India, organized a seminar as 2012 happened to be the 125th birth anniversary of this great mathematician who was born in Chennai. Students were informed on that seminar how India contributed to the development of mathematics right from the Vedic period to the medieval ages.
Ramanujan was born in a middle-class family. At an early stage, he learnt Trigonometry with his own interest and slowly and steadily he developed his own theorems. The financial condition was not up to the mark and hence, he used to borrow books during his school days for his education. At 15 he obtained a research paper of George Shoo Bridge’s Pure and Applied Mathematics to enrich his knowledge. But fate diverted him from his passion and he was bound to do a clerical job to support the financial needs of his family at a very young age. But his dedication remained the same and hence he used to calculate and solve numerical whenever he used to get time. This passion was identified by Michael Brook, one of his then colleagues in his office and he helped Ramanujan immensely.
Professor Hardy of Oxford University, where Michael Brook took him, helped him to excel in his talents. Eventually, his research papers were published in 1911 in Indian Mathematical Society. It is amazing to know from his Biography that he found out nearly 4000 results in equations and identities. The theory of divergence infinite series was his major discovery. The Ramanujan's Prime became an integral part of Modern Physics especially in the field of Radioactivity and Astrophysics. The concept of the elliptical integral is nowadays used in most of the derivations of Physics in the field of Electrostatics and Electricity.
1729 is the number known as the Hardy-Ramanujan number. It comes as a surprise to many. Many of us are not aware of it either. The story behind this is even more interesting which was revealed by Professor Hardy once.
“I remember once going to see him when he was 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 unfavourable omen. “NO," Ramanujan replied, it is a very interesting number; it is the smallest number expressible as the sum of two cubes in two different ways" – said Professor G.H. Hardy in 1918.
The explanation was even more interesting as quoted by Hardy:
1729 = 729 + 1000
Where 729 is the cube of 9 while 1000 is the cube of 10
1729 = 1 + 1728
Where 1 is the cube of 1 while 1728 is the cube of 12
Later when Hardy asked about the logic behind it, Ramanujan was into it in big time and quoted the Fermat's Last Theorem which he learnt at the age of 12.
The Diophantine Equation which was previously studied by Euler, was the last research paper of Ramanujan before he left for heaven on 26th April 1920 at Kumbakonam. The TLM technique which was long ago proposed by Ramanujan is now implemented in Oxford University to train students to upgrade their respective Mathematical Skills.
Nothing can be more apt than to remember this genius through the celebration of Mathematics Day. The talent and work of Ramanujan are appreciated and followed across the globe to this date. Mathematics, the base of all things around us, is celebrated and its greatness is observed yet again on this special day.
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