Watch “The Man Who Knew Infinity”: You will be performing a public service

Ashutosh Jogalekar in The Curious Wavefunction:

Srinivasa_Ramanujan_-_OPC_-_1Hardy calls his association with Ramanujan “the one true romantic incident of his life”, and the film does give us an idea of why he might have thought so.

The movie also does a good job dwelling on the math which is really the meat of Ramanujan’s life. To its credit it actually features an actual explanation of one of Ramanujan’s greatest accomplishments – his work on partitions with Hardy. Ramanujan’s ability to divine great theorems virtually from scratch was legendary of course, and even today mathematicians are finding gems in his books and wondering how he could figure out all these counterintuitive and novel math results based on nothing more than a high school education. Like John von Neumann Ramanujan was the ultimate autodidact, and both his and von Neumann’s accomplishments really give us a flavor of the extraordinary hidden potential that human minds hold. But one crucial aspect of Ramanujan’s personality that the film shines light on is his sheer obsession with math and the immense amount of hard work that he put in. Almost all through his adult life until his death, math was all he did. Ramanujan was a bona fide genius, no doubt about that, but the way he ate and drank and breathed and lived math makes it clear that even geniuses’ accomplishments come only from great toil and effort.

More here.