A commemorative postage stamp on Srinivasa Ramanujan :
Issued on Dec 26, 2011
Issued for : India Post pays homage to this mathematical genius by issuing a commemorative postage stamp.
Stamp/FDC : Brahm Prakash
Cancellation : Alka Sharma
Type : Stamp, Mint Condition
Colour : Multicolour
Denomination : 500 Paise
Stamps Printed : 0.3 Million
Printing Process : Wet Offset
Printer : Security Printing Press, Hyderabad
Name : Srinivasa Iyengar Ramanujan
Born on Dec 22, 1887 at Erode, Tamil Nadu, India
Died on Apr 26, 1920 at Kumbakonam, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
- Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887-1920) belongs to the pantheon of great mathematicians of India whose lineage stretches back at least 25 centuries, and whose contributions to the development of mathematical sciences have often been pioneering and revolutionary.
- Ramanujan was born in Erode in Tamil Nadu, on December 22, 1887. Later his family moved to Kumbakonam, a town about 160 kms from Chennai where he did his schooling. Ramanujan’s life took a definitive turn towards mathematics when he was 15 years old, when he came across an old mathematics manual “Synopsis of Elementary Results in Pure and Applied Mathematics“ 2. Vol. (1880-86) by George Shoobridge Carr. The book was written in an open style, which allowed Ramanujan to teach himself.
- Ramanujan was unemployed for a long time and lack of sufficient means of livelihood haunted him in his early youth. His marriage in 1909 prompted him to seek a permanent employment, and after some struggle he obtained a clerical post with the Madras Port Trust at Chennai.
- Meanwhile, Ramanujan’s mathematical work continued vigorously, covering areas like Bernoulli numbers, hypergeometric series, elliptic functions etc. Ramanujan also began to pose and solve problems in the Journal of the Indian Mathematical Society. His research paper on Bernoulli numbers published in the Journal of the Indian Mathematical Society in 1911 was well received, and he gained recognition for the originality and brilliance of his work. Lack of university education was no more a handicap, as he became known in academic circles as a mathematical genius.
- With recognition came a scholarship from the University of Madras. Ramanujan had started corresponding through some well wishers with mathematicians in England regarding his studies and research. One of them, Godfrey H Hardy became keenly interested in his work and went on to have a significant influence on his life. Ramanujan travelled to England in 1914 under a grant from Trinity College, Cambridge, where an extraordinary collaboration started between him and Hardy. Though his health was a persistent irritant, he continued his work and published papers in reputed journals in England and other parts of Europe.
- Ramanujan had an instinctive knowledge of mathematics, most of which he had worked out by himself. He had only the vaguest idea, however, of what constitutes a mathematical proof. Some of his theorems on the theory of prime numbers, though brilliant, were completely wrong. But his mastery of certain areas of mathematics, it was widely accepted, was unequaled by any contemporary mathematician. In 1918 he became the first Indian to be elected to the Royal Society of London. He was also elected a Fellow of Trinity College Cambridge, the same year.
- Ramanujan’s health had worsened during his stay in England. In 1917 he contacted tuberculosis. He returned to India in 1919 but despite medical treatment, did not survive for long. He breathed his last on April 26, 1920, in Kumbakonam.
- Text : P. N. Ranjit Kumar (Based on the input furnished by the proponent).