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A moving and enlightening look at the unbelievable true story of how gifted prodigy Ramanujan stunned the scholars of Cambridge University and revolutionized mathematics.
In 1913, a young unschooled Indian clerk wrote a letter to G H Hardy, begging the preeminent English mathematician's opinion on several ideas he had about numbers. Realizing the letter was the work of a genius, Hardy arranged for Srinivasa Ramanujan to come to England.
Thus began one of the most improbable and productive collaborations ever chronicled. With a passion for rich and evocative detail, Robert Kanigel takes us from the temples and slums of Madras to the courts and chapels of Cambridge University, where the devout Hindu Ramanujan, "the Prince of Intuition," tested his brilliant theories alongside the sophisticated and eccentric Hardy, "the Apostle of Proof."
In time, Ramanujan's creative intensity took its toll: he died at the age of thirty-two, but left behind a magical and inspired legacy that is still being plumbed for its secrets today.
This moving and astonishing biography tells the improbable story of India-born Srinavasa Ramanujan Iyengar, self-taught mathematical prodigy. In 1913 Ramanujan, a 25-year-old clerk who had flunked out of two colleges, wrote a letter filled with startlingly original theorems to eminent English mathematician G. H. Hardy. Struck by the Indian's genius, Hardy, member of the Cambridge Apostles and an obsessive cricket aficionado, brought Ramanujan to England. Over the next five years, the vegetarian Brahmin who claimed his discoveries were revealed to him by a Hindu goddess turned out influential mathematical propositions. Cut off from his young Indian wife left at home and emotionally neglected by fatherly yet aloof Hardy, Ramanujan returned to India in 1919, depressed, sullen and quarrelsome; he died one year later of tuberculosis. Kanigel ( Apprentice to Genius ) gives nontechnical readers the flavor of how Ramanujan arrived at his mathematical ideas, which are used today in cosmology and computer science. BOMC featured alternate; QPB alternate.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Painful Painful Painful
It is like picking up a book about Bill Clinton and reading about what George Washington planted in his Mount Vernon Plantation and why, phylisophiclly, did George Washington plant it. I was hoping to finally get to the man whom the book is supposed to be about. Finally, he would be mentioned, but no… it went on to everything else. I wanted to through the book against the wall. It is so painful I couldn’t bring myself to go any further. What a total waist of $9.99. There should be a way to rate it a negative star rating and if there were it would get a negative 10. Painful.
The worst book in many years
I completely agree with the previous review called "Painful, painful..." How in the world is it possible to write such a boring, basically unreadable, book about such a beautiful mind as that of Ramanujan's? There are endless descriptions of railroads in Southern India, various godforsaken towns and colleges, etc., - none of this would be worth the paper that it is printed on unless it was related to the genius of Ramanujan. Yet this main subject is occasionally touched upon here and there, and that's it. The author obviously has no idea as far as what matters and what does not.. Let alone his pathetic attempts to talk about mathematics.