The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life Of The Genius Ramanujan
About The Book
Srinivas Ramanujan, the ace mathematician, was a genius during his lifetime and is still revered today. Born to a poor Brahmin family, Ramajunan’s parents were unable to financially support his studies after school. That’s one of life’s ironies because his contribution to mathematics is both brilliant and inspiring.
The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of The Genius Ramanujan, Robert Kanigel chronicles the life and times of Ramanujan and also paints the social backdrop on which the mathematician was raised and groomed. He describes the Indian education system, Ramanujan’s orthodox family and his early marriage to a minor girl. Kanigel takes his readers through how, after writing to several mathematicians and repeated failed attempts to profess himself, Ramanujan was finally able to draw the attention of English mathematician G. H. Hardy. He landed a scholarship for continuing his research in pure mathematics. Hardy brought him to England where Ramanujan worked closely with other renowned Cambridge mathematicians.
Kanigel, in The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of The Genius Ramanujan, apprises us with conventions that guide Indian society. Ramanujan, unable to adhere to prevalent norms, was considered a social outcast.
In England, unfortunately, Ramanujan contacted tuberculosis. It took a toll on his health and work. He finally succumbed to the ailment at the prime age of 32.
Kanigel’s book is available in a new edition, published in paperback.
Superbly researched, the book is a definitive biography of the mathematical prodigy who finally got recognition once he landed in England.
The mathematics part is simplified so that the common reader can understand and never does the book attempt to tread past the borders of science.