Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Divine Mathematics

The Divine Mathematics

The 125th birthday of the great Indian Mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujam passed by a few days back, rather quietly (except for a google doodle may be) - one might say it was not surprising in a Nation which has for long forgotten to look at its own strengths and contributions, and more recently even more lost in the chaos of politicians - of its own and of the Italian import kinds.

And what about the visual and the print media ? I haven't yet come across anything significant from them either. In fact,  perhaps today, this piece got an extensive space in daily mail UK and so far I haven't seen the Indian media pick it up except for a much shortened version in "Hindu Business Line"

Go through the two, and tell me, what major difference do you notice in the treatment of the subject ?  True to its 'tradition' which is has ever made its name a misnomer the "Hindu" Business Line has completed ignored the Hindu aspect. One might say that the UK mirror was meant for an audience not-so-familiar with Ramanujam, and the HBL being an Indian publication, did not want to repeat the well known ? .. well well well ... well known  ?

Quoting from the mirror "Ramanujan, a devout Hindu, thought these patterns were revealed to him by the goddess Namagiri" .   I just wanted to pause at that statement and give it some thought ... Could there have been any motive for Ramanujam to lie ? Not one that I can think off .. after all why would one give credit to someone else , even if it be a Goddess.. One potential argument that could stand logic (though not necessarily true unless proven to be so) is from Hardy - "Ramanujan's religiousness had been romanticised by Westerners and overstated by  Indian biographers" source:

Yet, there could not have been a complete cooking up, as he lived within the last 100 years and its not a "Jesus lived but cannot be proved" kind of period. Even for those who do not want to believe (stress - not believing in it is also a a belief) in the Goddess theory, there is surely the astonishment of theories without proof (Or .. "Less Proof, More Truth" ) . Has there ever been a serious study of what really was behind these great revelations ? Will one ever be able to understand the "Divinity of Mathematics" and "Mathematics of the Divine" ?

pic courtesy:

Tailpiece: As a kid, inspired by Ramanujan's number, I used to look for more such interesting numbers.... (related old post of mine is here)...  I had those "findings" scribbled on bits of papers.. which in the stream of time disappeared, much like my habit of playing with numbers. Yet at around this time, I felt like simply  taking a look at the Gregorian date of Ramanujam's birth and death 

Birth - 22/12 ... 22 X 12  = 264 .. 264 squared is 69696 .. a nice looking number 
Death 26/4 .. 26X4 = 104 .. 104 squared is 10816 .. both 108 and 116 are sacred for Hindus.. no doubt, the Divine Mathematician reached closer to Mathematical Divinity that day !

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