Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Posts Tagged ‘Srinivasa Ramanujan

A man with nothing to prove

leave a comment »

[Srinivasa] Ramanujan did what he wished to do, went his own way. It was only later, after he had indulged in an orgy of mathematical creation, that he might wake up and realize how far he had strayed from the common run of human intercourse. Only then might he begin to care, sometimes painfully much, how others thought of him…

Ramanujan was a man for whom, as Littlewood put it, “the clear-cut idea of what is meant by proof…he perhaps did not possess at all”; once he had become satisfied of a theorem’s truth, he had scant interest in proving it to others. The word proof, here, applies in its mathematical sense. And yet, constructed more loosely, Ramanujan truly had nothing to prove.

Robert Kanigel, The Man Who Knew Infinity

Written by nevalalee

June 18, 2017 at 7:30 am

Quote of the Day

leave a comment »

Srinivasa Ramanujan

I remember once going to see [Ramanujan] when he was ill at Putney. I had ridden in taxi cab number 1729 and remarked that the number seemed to me rather a dull one, and that I hoped it was not an unfavorable omen. “No,” he replied, “it is a very interesting number; it is the smallest number expressible as the sum of two cubes in two different ways.”

G.H. Hardy, on Srinivasa Ramanujan

(On hearing this story, J.E. Littlewood remarked: “Every positive integer is one of Ramanujan’s personal friends.”)

Written by nevalalee

August 30, 2013 at 7:30 am

%d bloggers like this: