Srinivasa Ramanujanborn December 22,ErodeIndia —died April 26,KumbakonamIndian mathematician whose contributions to the theory of numbers include pioneering discoveries of the properties of the partition function.

This collection of thousands of theoremsmany presented with only the briefest of proofs and with no material newer thanaroused his genius. In he secured a scholarship to the University of Madras but lost it the following year because he neglected all other studies in pursuit of mathematics.

Ramanujan continued his work, without employment and living in the poorest circumstances. After marrying in he began a search for permanent employment that culminated in an interview with a government official, Ramachandra Rao. In Ramanujan published the first of his papers in the Journal of the Indian Mathematical Society.

His genius slowly gained recognition, and in he began a correspondence with the British mathematician Godfrey H. Hardy that led to a special scholarship from the University of Madras and a grant from Trinity College, Cambridge.

Overcoming his religious objections, Ramanujan traveled to England inwhere Hardy tutored him and collaborated with him in some research. Although he was almost completely unaware of modern developments in mathematics, his mastery of continued fractions was unequaled by any living mathematician. He worked out the Riemann series, the elliptic integralshypergeometric series, the functional equations of the zeta functionand his own theory of divergent series.

Though brilliant, many of his theorems on the theory of prime numbers were wrong. In England Ramanujan made further advances, especially in the partition of numbers the number of ways that a positive integer can be expressed as the sum of positive integers; e. His papers were published in English and European journals, and in he was elected to the Royal Society of London.

In Ramanujan had contracted biography of any one indian mathematiciansbut his condition improved sufficiently for him to return to India in He died the following year, generally unknown to the world at large but recognized by mathematicians as a phenomenal genius, without peer since Leonhard Euler —83 and Carl Jacobi — Articles from Britannica encyclopedias for elementary and high school students.

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