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5 - Namakkal's Infinity - a dream by Srinivasa Ramanuja

Srinivasa Ramanujan: The Man Who Knew Infinity

The mathematical genius made substantial contributions to analytical theory of numbers, elliptical functions, continued fractions, and infinite series, and proved more than 3,000 mathematical theorems in his lifetime. Ramanujan stated that the insight for his work came to him in his dreams on many occasions.

Ramanujan said that, throughout his life, he repeatedly dreamed of a Hindu goddess known as Namakkal. She presented him with complex mathematical formulas over and over, which he could then test and verify upon waking. Once such example was the infinite series for Pi:

Describing one of his many insightful math dreams, Ramanujan said:

"While asleep I had an unusual experience. There was a red screen formed by flowing blood as it were. I was observing it. Suddenly a hand began to write on the screen. I became all attention. That hand wrote a number of results in elliptic integrals. They stuck to my mind. As soon as I woke up, I committed them to writing..."

There is a fascinating story behind the prolific dreamer. Learn more about the life of Ramanujan - a self-taught math prodigy from India - and how how he formed his brilliant theories.

From the temples and slums of Madras to the courts and chapels of Cambridge University, it's an unlikely story that saw Ramanujan rise from underprivileged obscurity to one of the greatest geniuses of the 20th century.

Source Robert Kanigel's The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius Ramanujan.

 
 

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Srinivasa Ramanujan: The Man Who Knew Infinity