Srinivasa Ramanujan, the genius

Srinivasa Ramanujan FRS (22 December 1887 – 26 April 1920) was considered a brilliant mathematician who made significant contribution to the world of mathematics. Although he had hardly in training in pure mathematics, he is remembered for his work in the areas of mathematical analysis, number theory, infinite series, and continued fractions, including solutions to mathematical problems considered to be unsolvable. Professor G. H. Hardy at University of Cambridge, England recognised the talent of this young genius. Prof. Hardy helped him to pursue his work at Cambridge. Let us celebrate the genius of Srinivasa Ramanujan by looking at the Ramanujan portrait painting by Dr. G. Ambika.

Contribution to Mathematics by Ramanujan

During his short life, he independently compiled nearly 3,900 results (mostly identities and equations). Many were completely novel. His original and highly unconventional results, such as the Ramanujan prime, the Ramanujan theta function, partition formulae and mock theta functions, have opened entire new areas of work and inspired a vast amount of further research. Nearly all his claims have now been proven correct. The Ramanujan Journal, a peer-reviewed scientific journal, was established to publish work in all areas of mathematics influenced by Ramanujan.


He became one of the youngest Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) and only the second Indian member, and the first Indian to be elected a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. The year after his death, Nature listed him among other distinguished scientists and mathematicians on a “Calendar of Scientific Pioneers,” who had achieved eminence. Ramanujan’s home state of Tamil Nadu celebrates 22 December (Ramanujan’s birthday) as ‘State IT Day’. Stamp featuring him were issued by the Government of India in 1962, 2011, 2012 and 2016.

22 December – birthday of Ramanujan

Since Ramanujan’s centennial year, his birthday, 22 December, has been annually celebrated as Ramanujan Day by the Government Arts College, Kumbakonam where he studied and at the IIT Madras in Chennai. A prize for young mathematicians from developing countries has been created in Ramanujan’s name by the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in cooperation with the International Mathematical Union, which nominate members of the prize committee.

In 2011, on the 125th anniversary of his birth, the Indian Government declared that 22 December will be celebrated every year as National Mathematics Day.

Portrait painting of Srinivasa Ramanujan by Dr. G. Ambika
Srinivasa Ramanujan FRS, portrait painting by Dr. G. Ambika
Srinivasa Ramanujan was a genius in mathematics and Fellow of Royal Society. Portrait by G. Ambika, Oil on Canvas (24”X28”), at IISER, Pune, copyright © 2017 G. Ambika. All Rights Reserved

About Dr. Gouri Ambika

Dr. Gouri Ambika is presently Professor in Physics and Dean, Academics, in Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Tirupati, India. She has painted this beautiful portrait of Srinivasa Ramanujan. I requested her to talk about Ramanujan, the significance of his work, and the inspiration for doing this portrait painting

Dr. G. Ambika on Ramanujan and the significance of his work

Srinivasa Ramanujan is one of the greatest Mathematicians the world has seen. He was born in 1887 in a small town called Erode in Tamil Nadu India. He was fond of numbers and started playing with numbers from his childhood. Numbers and their relationships fascinated him and from a very young age he was able to make important contributions in Mathematics. He published his first paper when he was only 23 years. Knowing about his work, the famous mathematician G.H. Hardy, invited him to Cambridge where he worked for nearly five years. He obtained many equations satisfied by numbers and invented relationships with infinite series and continued fractions. He could not continue there for a long time and had to return to India due to poor health. But within this very short time he made many discoveries of great impact on numbers and their relationships. These made him a legendary figure in Mathematics with prestigious recognitions such as Fellow of Royal Society and Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.

On influence Ramanujan had on her

As every other child in India, I also heard about Ramanujan from my school days. Later when I started studying Physics and Mathematics, I read more about him and his work. I became a great admirer of his exceptional talents. Later when I developed a passion for painting, I started painting realistic portraits, using oil on canvas. My themes were always on scientists and thus I painted portraits of great scientists like Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein. Recently, I completed a painting of Ramanujan.This is a real size portrait with the green color on the background being symbolic of his mathematical creativity. I have added his famous equations also there ,as if written on a green board kept at a distance. This way, those who see the painting, can relate him easily with his significant contributions. This painting is now located in the library of IISER Pune.

See the video of Dr. G. Ambika talk about her painting of Ramanujan

Part 1

Part 2

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