Math Storytelling Day – Mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan

Math Storytelling Day (9/25): Telling stories is a powerful form of learning.

On this day let us remember our great Mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan (22 December 1887 – 26 April 1920).

“An equation for me has no meaning unless it expresses a thought of God.”- RAMANUJAM

The number 1729 is known as the Hardy–Ramanujan number after a famous anecdote of the British mathematician G. H. Hardy regarding a visit to the hospital to see Ramanujan.

Ramanujan

In Hardy’s words:
“I remember once going to see him when he was ill at Putney. I had ridden in taxi cab number 1729 and remarked that the number seemed to me rather a dull one, and that I hoped it was not an unfavorable omen.

“No,” he replied, “it is a very interesting number; it is the smallest number expressible as the sum of two cubes in two different ways.””

The two different ways are
1729 = 1^3 + 12^3 = 9^3 + 10^3.

Generalizations of this idea have created the notion of “taxicab numbers”.

You can know more about him from the brilliant biography: The Man who Knew Infinity

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