School Seminars and Colloquia

Ramanujan: The Number Devil from Tamil Nadu


by Dr. Ole Warnaar

Institution: Department of Mathematics and Statistics, The University of Melbourne
Date: Wed 18th October 2006
Time: 6:00 PM
Location: Theatre A, Elizabeth Murdoch Building

Abstract: Srinavasa Ramanujan is arguably India's most famous mathematician ever. As a self-taught mathematical genius, he amazed the mathematical world at the start of the 20th century with his often bizarre mathematical discoveries. Claiming help from the Goddess Namagiri, he scribbled down hundreds of pages of formulae, some so deep that they remained unproven for almost a century. His short but troubled life is full of wonderful stories and anecdotes and has been the inspiration for books, classical and popular music, and even an entire opera; and will soon be the subject of a movie directed by the well-known British actor and director Stephen Fry.

This lecture will explain why people continue to be intrigued and inspired by Ramanujan's life and work, what happened to his mysterious "Lost Notebook", and what makes the number 1729 so special. No more than a love of music and a firm understanding of Grade 6 mathematics is required to enjoy the lecture.