Hello everyone! Today I’ll be narrating one of the stories from Srinivasan Ramanujan’s life from his childhood. We all know he was India’s greatest Mathematician and we have heard a lot of stories about him. He has always intrigued me and thus wanted to share a story of him with his curiosity and his knowledge.
I’m yet to lay my hand on the book “The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius Ramanujan”. If you too haven’t read this book then definitely it’s worth a read you won’t regret reading the book, and if you have already read it let us know in the comments!
Ramanujan was born on 22nd December 1887 in Erode, Tamil Nadu, India this was the place of residence of his maternal grandparents. Son of Srinivasan Ayyangar who used to work as a clerk in a sari shop and hailed from the district of Thanjavur.
Ramanujan hardly used to take till the age of three and when he turned five went to a traditional elementary school and later to a high school in Kumbakonam town and the year 1897 he stood first in his Primary Examination. Everyone knew that Ramanujan was a very bright student and here starts his story.
One day at Ramanujan’s school the teacher was explaining division and then said that “if you divide any number by itself you would always get 1 as your answer.” The teacher in a small high school in Southern India while teaching turned around and saw a small hand trying to reach the ceiling.
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The teacher said Oh by the gods, him again! That Ayyangar boy with his horribly difficult and quite unrelated questions. Just like last week, he wanted to know how long it would take to reach Alpha Centauri through a steam train. The teacher added as if he would be able to afford it if he knew the fare.
Well, he couldn’t try and exercise his hands too much. The teacher said, “yes Ramanujan?”
With the eyes shining the small boy stood up. He spoke to the teacher slowly, with calm confidence inside him. He was the one who did not need to be told he was the best in the class.
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Ramanujan asked, “is zero divided by zero will also be equal to one?”
Unfortunately, for all those teachers who have been asked the same question at least two times all their lives, the answer to this question is unknown. But the life of the boy, Srinivasan Ramanujan certainly isn’t.
At the age of 11, the two college students who were living as lodgers at his home Ramanujan exhausted their mathematical knowledge. Later on, Ramanujan was elected a book of advanced trigonometry whose author was S.L. Loney.
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By the age of 13, Ramanujan was able to completely master this book and he also discovered sophisticated theorems on his own. And by the age of 14, he started receiving academic awards and merit certificates.
To wrap this story up, what a great person Srinivasan Ramanujan was, and at just the age of 11, he used to ask such questions which the teachers also couldn’t answer because he always had this curiosity inside him and confidence of learning new every time.
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I hope you all enjoyed this piece from Ramanujan’s life and we have more such stories which you can check out. Thank you!