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- Ramanujan was born in Erode, a small village in Tamil Nadu on 22 December 1887.
- His father worked as a clerk in a cloth merchant’s shop in Kumbakonam.
- Ramanujan enrolled in the primary school at the age of twelve.
- In 1898 he joined the Town High School in Kumbakonam.
- At the Town High School, Ramanujan did well in all subjects and proved himself an able all round scholar.
Ramanujan College Education
- In the school, he came across the book Synopsis of Elementary Results in Pure Mathematics by G. S. Carr.
- He was influenced by the book and began working on mathematics on his own, summing geometric and arithmetic series.
- Government College in Kumbakonam gave him the scholarship.
- Ramanujan neglected all subjects other than mathematics. So, Government College in Kumbakonam didn’t renew his scholarship.
- In 1905 he appeared for the First Arts examination. He got admission in the University of Madras.
- Again he failed in all subjects other than mathematics, a performance he repeated in 1906 and 1907 too.
- In the following years he worked on mathematics, with only Carr’s book as a guide, noting his results in what would become the famous Notebooks.
- He got married in 1909 and started looking for a job.
- His search took him to many influential people, among them Ramachandra Rao, one of the founding members of the Indian Mathematical Society.
- Ramachandra Rao supported him by giving him Rs. 25 per month.
- He started posing and solving problems in the Journal of the Indian Mathematical Society.
- His research paper on Bernoulli numbers, in 1911, brought him recognition and he became well known in Chennai as a mathematical genius.
- In 1912, with Ramachandra Rao’s help, he secured the post of clerk in the accounts section of the Madras Port Trust.
- He continued to pursue mathematics and in 1913 he wrote to G. H. Hardy in Cambridge, enclosing a long list of his own theorems.
- Hardy immediately recognized Ramanujan’s mathematical ability.
- University of Madras awarded Ramanujan a scholarship in 1913 on the basis of Hardy’s letters
- In 1914, Hardy arranged for him to go to Trinity College, Cambridge.
- Ramanujan’s work with Hardy produced important results right from the beginning.
- In 1916 Ramanujan graduated from Cambridge with a Bachelor of Science by Research.
- In 1918, he was elected a Fellow of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, and a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, all in the same year.
- However, from 1917 onwards he was seriously ill and mostly bedridden. In 1919 he returned to India, in very poor health.
- He made outstanding contributions to analytical number theory, elliptic functions, continued fractions, and infinite series.
- His published and unpublished works have kept some of the best mathematical brains in the world busy to this day.
Illness and death
- He was diagnosed with tuberculosis and a severe vitamin deficiency.
- In 1919 he returned to Kumbakonam, Madras Presidency, and soon thereafter, in 1920, died at the age of 32.