Knowing about the man who knew Infinity

I had learned about Ramanujan for the first time, when I was in high school. Believe me, it was quite a while ago.   The chapter I read at that time, had dealt with his friendship with Professor Hardy.  It hardly highlighted about his wizardry in the mathematics and his life at Trinity College in Cambridge.  I learned about this Mathematics Genius again, when I had a chance to visit Cambridge University, thanks to a potential client meeting in Cambridge few years ago, which I had already blogged that visit at @https://saichintala.com/tag/cambridge-university/

Later, I bumped into the book “The Man Knew Infinity” (authored by biographer Robert Kanigel) and the upcoming movie few years ago.  I read the book briefly and finally watched the movie this week and was amazed by his life, his contribution to the world of mathematics, and also in a way his contribution to the science too.  Read further to know little more about the movie.  Or better yet, just head to the nearest screen (there are very few out there) where this movie is being screened, and prepared to be vowed.

A must watch movie by every Indian out there, as a tribute to almost forgotten genius.

What Richard Attenborough has done to Gandhi, in terms of bringing his story to all Indians, Matt Brown has done to S Ramanujan, the man who most Indians forgotten (or many of current gen may even never heard). I wonderer if anyone from India, would have done justice, looking at the perfect star cast (specially Jeremy Irons as Hardy), and story telling that I witnessed in this movie.  You need not know anything about mathematics to enjoy the movie, and appreciate the mathematics genius, that is Ramanujan, his mentor, and other professors who are part of the story.

The story does not just focus on Mathematics part, it seamlessly weaves the struggle Ramanujan goes through at Trinity College in Cambridge, racial discrimination, cultural integration challenges, convincing Hardy to get his work recognized, Hardy to get Ramanujan to work proofs, and finally Ramanujan getting fellowship (FRCS). Through out the movie, I kept thinking this is a Telugu / Hindi movie (though everyone speaks English in the movie), specially the first half.  This is probably due to the perfect background score, art work, selection of locales, perfect recreation of little village and surroundings where Ramanujan spent his life in India and honed his mathematic skills with almost no support / access to any literary infrastructure

Movie is apparently produced by two mathematics (kudos to them) and includes many fascinating tidbits from the short life that he lived.  For example, it also has the incident where Ramanujan talks about importance of Number 1729, which almost all of us (including Hardy) thinking of it as a boring number.  However, here is what Ramanujan explains:

Simply put, 1729 is the smallest number that can be expressed as the sum of two different cubes in two different ways. 1729 is the sum of the cubes of 10 and 9 (1000 and 729 respectively) as well as the sum of the cubes of 12 and 1 (1728 and 1 respectively).

For the next few days after I watched the movie, I googled about Ramanujan and found fascinating pics, articles, and videos which I have enjoyed browsing them.  I have included few pics in this blog, and avoid reproducing everything I have read about him, here in my write-up.

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Movie Poster

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The missing boy was “safely back” home within days, as Ramanujan’s biographer relates in book The Man Who Knew Infinity.

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Book Cover

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Tribute by Govt of India

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Tribute by Govt of India

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Comparison between the real one and the one depicted in the movie

Ramanujan letter

The Man Who Knew Infinity

Scene from the movie

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