School Seminars and Colloquia

Ramanujan’s Lost Notebook

(presented in conjunction with AustMS and AMSI)

FREE PUBLIC LECTURE: The Australian Mathematics Society 2005 Kurt Mahler Lecture

by Professor Bruce Berndt

Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
Date: Thu 6th October 2005
Time: 6:00 PM
Location: Theatre A, Richard Berry Building, The Uninversity of Melbourne

Abstract: Srinivasa Ramanujan, generally regarded as the greatest mathematician in Indian history, was born in 1887 and died in 1920 at the age of 32. Most of his work was recorded without proofs in notebooks. In the spring of 1976, while searching through papers of the late G. N. Watson at Trinity College, Cambridge, George Andrews found a sheaf of 138 pages of Ramanujan's work. In view of the fame of Ramanujan's “ordinary" notebooks, Andrews naturally called this collection of sheets Ramanujan's “lost notebook". This work, comprising about 650 results with no proofs, arises from the last year of Ramanujan's life and represents some of his deepest work. After a brief history of Ramanujan's life and notebooks, the history and origin of the lost notebook will be given. The remainder of the lecture will be devoted to a survey of some of the most interesting entries in the lost notebook. These include claims in q-series, theta functions, continued fractions, integrals, partitions, and other infinite series.

About the Speaker:

Professor Bruce Berndt from the Department of Mathematics at the University of Illinois, is the 2005 Mahler Lecturer. Professor Kurt Mahler was one of the major figures in Australian mathematics from his arrival in this country in the 1960's until his death in 1988. The Australian Mathematical Society was a beneficiary under his will, and the funds from this bequest have been used to set up a Visiting Lectureship in his honour. The Mahler Lecturer is also supported by the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute. The Mahler Lectureship is awarded every two years to a distinguished mathematician, who preferably works in an area of mathematics associated with the work of Professor Mahler.

Professor Berndt ( is very well-known for his considerable efforts in establishing the veracity or otherwise of numerous formulae first derived by the Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887-1920), and he has devoted the larger part of his working life to the mathematics initiated by Ramanujan. He is the author or co-author of nearly two hundred research papers and of nine books dealing with the life and mathematical work of Ramanujan. Predominantly based at the University of Illinois, he has been the recipient of many awards and Distinguished Professorships in recognition of the excellence and high standing of his work.

For More Information: For further information contact the Department of Mathematics and Statistics on (03) 8344-5550