Dr. Jai Maharaj

2017-05-18 15:08:19 UTC

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Mathematicians And 'The Man Who Knew Infinity'Raw Message

By Ramin Skibba, Contributor

Inside Science

insidescience.org

Friday, April 29, 2016

[Caption] Real portraits of the main characters from the

new film "The Man Who Knew Infinity," Srinivasa Ramanujan

(left) and G.H. Hardy (right).

A new movie tells the story of an underdog Indian

mathematician.

(Inside Science) - In 1914, an unknown Indian man boarded

a ship and traveled across the world to Cambridge

University in England, where he could finally follow his

passion for mathematics. In the few short years between

his arrival and untimely death, he filled notebooks with

formulas and discovered theorems, some of which still

influence the work of mathematicians and scientists

today.

The new biopic, "The Man Who Knew Infinity," which opens

in U.S. theaters beginning Friday, April 29, chronicles

the life of Srinivasa Ramanujan. A self-taught Indian

mathematician from the city then called Madras (now

Chennai), Ramanujan struggled to overcome racism,

poverty, and outsider status in imperial Britain during

the tumultuous time of World War I. But he eventually won

over the mathematical community and was the second Indian

to become a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Written and directed by Matthew Brown, the film gives an

authentic portrayal of how mathematicians actually work.

At Cambridge, Ramanujan, began an unlikely partnership

with G. H. Hardy, who quickly recognized his impressive,

if untrained, mathematical abilities. Hardy later

described their collaboration as "the one romantic

incident in my life."

Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons play Ramanujan and Hardy,

respectively. The mathematicians had to bridge many

cultural divides. A steadfast atheist, Hardy persistently

placed an emphasis on reason, logic, and the "pristine

proofs of the Western mathematical tradition," as Robert

Kanigel's 1991 biography puts it. Ramanujan, in contrast,

relied on intuition and imagination, turning math into an

art with his love of form and elegance. In the movie, he

tells Hardy that the Hindu goddess Namagiri writes the

formulas on his tongue each night.

"Mathematics used to be an individual sport, but Hardy

and Ramanujan taught us how much you can accomplish with

collaboration," said Princeton mathematician Manjul

Bhargava. He and other mathematicians, actors, and the

director spoke at a post-screening event at the San

Francisco International Film Festival.

Their rare and at times fraught collaboration makes for

an entertaining film. This is in spite its sprinkling in

bits of math throughout, which some viewers might find

daunting. For example, upon hearing about a taxi's number

1729, Ramanujan pointed out that that it's the smallest

number expressible as the sum of two cubes in two

different ways (1 cubed plus 12 cubed and 6 cubed plus 10

cubed).

Continues at:

https://www.insidescience.org/content/mathematicians-and-man-who-knew-infinity/3926

Jai Maharaj, Jyotishi

Om Shanti

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