Srinivasa Ramanujan was an Indian mathematician who lived during the British Rule in India. Though he had almost no formal training in pure mathematics, he made substantial contributions to mathematical analysis, number theory, infinite series, and continued fractions, including solutions to mathematical problems then considered unsolvable.
Ramanujan initially developed his own mathematical research in isolation. “He tried to interest the leading professional mathematicians in his work, but failed for the most part. What he had to show them was too novel, too unfamiliar, and additionally presented in unusual ways; they could not be bothered”.
In 1913 he began a postal partnership with the English mathematician G. H. Hardy at the University of Cambridge, England. Recognizing Ramanujan’s work as extraordinary, Hardy arranged for him to travel to Cambridge. In his notes, Ramanujan had produced groundbreaking new theorems, including some that Hardy said had “defeated him and his colleagues completely”, in addition to rediscovering recently proven but highly advanced results.
During his short life, Ramanujan independently compiled nearly 3,900 results (mostly identities and equations). Many were completely novel; his original and highly unconventional results, such as the Ramanujan prime, the Ramanujan theta function, partition formulae and mock theta functions, have opened entire new areas of work and inspired a vast amount of further research.
He became one of the youngest Fellows of the Royal Society and only the second Indian member, and the first Indian to be elected a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.
Hardy stated in one of original letters that a single look was enough to show they could only have been written by a mathematician of the highest calibre, comparing Ramanujan to mathematical geniuses such as Euler and Jacobi.
In 2011, on the 125th anniversary of his birth, the Indian government declared that 22 December will be celebrated every year as National Mathematics Day. Then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also declared that 2012 would be celebrated as National Mathematics Year.