Ramanujan

I really enjoy watching movies that are based on real life-stories. And I have seen a fair amount of these over the years. They are incredibly educational. And with each and everyone of them I have added new knowledge and new interests to my reservoir. There are of course those stories that are founded in a real life-event, but then the creators/writers have used their artistic freedom to spin the story in a different way. These movies can be very good too. But the ones I  like the best are the ones that are true to the original life-experience.

I watched one of the latter last night, “The man who knew infinity”, which is the story of Ramanujan, the world renowned mathematician, who changed mathematics forever, and his friendship with G. H. Hardy, a professor in mathematics at Trinity College in Cambridge.

Ramanujan was born in India in 1887 in a poor family and was a selftaught mathematian, aided and inspired by local students. He was a genious who intuitively knew the patterns and constructs of complex mathematics from an early age and who diligently wrote his findings down in notebooks some of which later became published at Trinity College in Cambridge.

With no formal education he wrote to G. H. Hardy including a small sample of his theorims and the british mathmatician, who recognized Ramanujans extraordinary talent, invited him to Trinity College to work together proving these theorims and to publish Ramanujins works.

The movie extensively covers the many obstacles Ramanujan faced: racism (India was a British colony), religious difficulties as Ramanujan was a devout Hindu and the stringent procedures of early 20th century university rules and regulations.

However, as I am not going to reveal the entire movie. It is a spellbinding story of overcoming adversities and paving the way for groundbreaking achievements in mathematics. The story is excellent and well worth watching, not just because of Ramanujans lifestory; but also because it draws a crystalclear picture of the many cultural differences which not only divided people in those days, but unfortunately still does.

We, as a species, have a long way to go – it seems.