Ramaujan’s Letter to Hardy

Ramanujan

Madras 16th January 1913

Dear Sir

I beg to introduce myself to you as a clerk in the Accounts Department of the Port Trust Office at Madras on a salary of £ 20 per annum. I am no about 23 years of age. I have had no university education but I have undergone the ordinary school. I have been employing the spare time at my disposal to work at Mathematics. I have not toddle through the conventional regular course, but I am striking out a new path for my self. I have made a special investigation of divergent series in general and the results I get are termed by the local mathematicians as “Startling”

I would request you to go through the enclosed papers. Being poor, if you are convinced that there is anything of value I would like to have my theorems to be published. I have not given te actual investigation nor expressions that I get but I have indicated the lines on which I proceed.

Being inexperienced I would very highly value any advice you give me. Requesting to be excused for the trouble I give you.

I remain
Dear Sir
Your truly
S.Ramanujan

Hardy’s reply

Dear Sir

I was exceedingly interested by your letter and by theorems…

Your will how ever understand that before I can judge properly the value of what you have done, it is essential that I should see proofs of some of your assertions.

..

I want particularly to see your proofs of your assertions have. You will understand that, in this theorym everything depends on rigorous exactation of proof..

G.H Hardy

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7 Responses to “Ramaujan’s Letter to Hardy”


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  3. 3 gp August 9, 2007 at 3:48 pm

    they say its because they start early and run out of steam fast. thats all bullcrap. the real reason is savants and geniuses have massive mental problems ranging from depression to delusion. If we are in the western world, a trip to a psychologist is easy, but things like that are often unheard of here and what more in the past. When they cant control it, they die out of ailments because of that. You probably would know that Ramanujan tried to commit suicide…

  4. 4 Karthi August 7, 2007 at 6:41 pm

    >> but he perished too fast to enchant the world.
    All mathematicians are done by the age of 30. I wonder why?

    • 5 Steve August 3, 2011 at 1:26 am

      Leopold Vietoris was an excellent topologist. He lived from 1891 to 2002. He published his last paper when he was 103.

  5. 6 gp August 5, 2007 at 1:02 am

    a true legend, he was born and he worked hard when the ‘new science’ is still flourishing but he perished too fast to enchant the world. Its surprising that the rest of the world dont know much about him, mention Ramanujan in even a math class at the uni and everyone goes ‘who?’. Its good that we Indians remember and we never forget.

    Proof equates results. Something that is vital to mark a place in history…but i often dismiss proof as a modern day plague of not knowing something or commercialization or education biasness. When they dont understand they try to push us towards extinction so that we dont make them look like fools.


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