Monday, May 30, 2005

The man who knew infinity

'The man who knew infinity' by Robert Kanigel is a marvelous book that captures the life of genius Ramanujam. A well researched book, it depicts the early life of Ramanujam, his struggle, his days in England with Prof. Hardy who invited him to England and his tragic death.

As the author points out Hardy was atheist where as to Ramanujam Hindu traditions and philosophy were a way of life. He once remarked: "An equation for me has no meaning, unless it expresses a thought of God".

He was some what of a philosopher as well, once remarking that the equation 2^n-1, represented different realms of God. If n=0, the result is zero expressing nothingness. If n=1 it expresses unity. If n=3, the result is seven representing the saptharishis.

The book does not educate the mathematical reader about Ramanujam's work, but it definitely captures the life and genius of Ramanujam.