The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Mathematician’s Life Comes To The Movies

Jonathan Borwein in IFL Science:

Image-20151117-4970-ulole9The movie The Man Who Knew Infinity is about Srinivasa Ramanujan, who is generally viewed by mathematicians as one of the two most romantic figures in our discipline. (I shall say more about the other romantic later.)

Ramanujan (1887–1920) was born and died, aged just 32, in Southern India. But in one of the most extraordinary events in mathematical history, he spent the period of World War I in Trinity College Cambridge at the invitation of the leading British mathematician Godfrey Harold (G. H.) Hardy (1877–1947) and his great collaborator John E. Littlewood.

To avoid having to issue spoiler alerts, I will not tell much of Ramanujan’s story here.

Suffice to say that as a boy he refused to learn anything but mathematics, he was almost entirely self taught and his pre-Cambridge work is contained in a series of Notebooks.

The work he did after returning to India in 1919 is contained in the misleadingly named Lost Notebook. It was lost and later found in the Wren library of the leading college for mathematics of the leading University in England. While in England Ramanujan became the first Indian Fellow both of Trinity and of the Royal Society.

More here.