Scott Aaronson in Shtetl-Optimized:
I read Kanigel’s The Man Who Knew Infinity in the early nineties; it was a major influence on my life. There were equations in that book to stop a nerdy 13-year-old’s pulse, like
A thousand pages of exposition about Ramanujan’s mysterious self-taught mathematical style, the effect his work had on Hardy and Littlewood, his impact on the later development of analysis, etc., could never replace the experience of just staring at these things! Popularizers are constantly trying to “explain” mathematical beauty by comparing it to art, music, or poetry, but I can best understand art, music, and poetry if I assume other people experience them like the above identities. Across all the years and cultures and continents, can’t you feel Ramanujan himself leaping off your screen, still trying to make you see this bizarre aspect of the architecture of reality that the goddess Namagiri showed him in a dream?