India announced the birthday of celebrated mathematician Srinivas Ramanujan as ‘National Mathematics Day’. The announcement was made by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh at the 125th Birth Anniversary celebrations of the mathematical genius in Chennai on Monday (December 26).
Born in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu in 1887, Ramanujam is considered to be among the world’s all-time great mathematicians like Archimedes, Euler, Gauss, Isaac Newton or Jacobi. He has developed about 4,000 original theorems, with no formal education in the subject.
“In 1913, a twenty-five-year-old Indian clerk with no formal education wrote a letter to G.H. Hardy, then widely acknowledged as the premier English mathematician of his time. Srinivasa Ramanujan begged Hardy’s opinion regarding several ideas he had about numbers. Hardy realized that the letter was a work of genius.
Thus began one of the most productive and unusual scientific collaborations in history, that of an English don and an impoverished Hindu genius whose like has never been seen again,” writes Professor Robert Kanigal, in ‘The Man Who Knew Infinity,’ biographical sketch of the genius.
Ancient India was the crucible of mathematical developments, beginning with Aryabhatta in the fifth century, followed by Brahmagupta, who is reckoned among all-time great mathematicians. India’s single-most important contribution to the world of mathematics is the value of zero. Indian mathematics remained in the forefront for almost a thousand years after Aryabhatta with Madhava of Kerala being the last name in the league.