National Mathematics Day 2021: Marking S. Ramanujan’s Birth Anniversary

National Mathematics day

Since 2012, India celebrates National Mathematics Day on December 22 every year. This day marks the birth anniversary of world-renowned mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan.

It was then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who declared S. Ramanujan’s birthday as National Mathematics Day to honour his contribution to the subject. Now, this day is celebrated all over the country in various government and academic institutions. It marks the importance of mathematics in our life and encourages people to develop self-learning and rationale skills, much like Ramanujan.

A brief history of S. Ramanujan

S. Ramanujan was born on 22 December 1887. He belonged to a Tamil Brahmin family of the city of Erode, Tamil Nadu.

He was a child prodigy, and largely a self-taught mathematician. At age twelve, he had mastered trigonometry thoroughly. So much so that he was inventing sophisticated theorems by that age. By the age of fourteen, he was helping his school with logistics and completing his exams in half the allotted time. He won a scholarship to study in college at the age of seventeen. However, due to his failure to crack the other subjects, he lost this scholarship.

Solving algebra and trigonometric problems came so easily to him while his fellow students struggled to crack these.

His rise to fame

In 1913, Ramanujan sent a long list of complex theorems to three Cambridge academics: H. F. Baker, E. W. Hobson, and G. H. Hardy. Hardy recognized the young man’s genius and invited him to visit the University of Cambridge. Thus, at twenty-six, Ramanujam went to Britain for his theorems on infinite series, continued fractions, improper integrals, and number theory.

The genius mathematician was the first Indian to be elected as a Fellow at Trinity College. He also became the youngest Fellow of the Royal Society in London for his work on Elliptic functions and theory of numbers.

Ramanujan came to be known as ‘The Man Who Knew Infinity’. This was because of his infinite love for and contribution to mathematics.

In Britain, he compiled more than 3,000 mathematical results and equations. He finally returned to India in 1919. Due to tuberculosis, he passed away the next year.

Ramanujan contributed greatly to mathematical analysis, infinite series, continued fractions and number theory. His path-breaking work is an inspiration for future generations.

One of Ramanujan’s most famous quotes is:

An equation means nothing to me unless it expresses a thought of God.

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