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Math Science

Ramanujan's Deathbed Conjecture Finally Proven 186

Posted by samzenpus
from the in-your-dreams dept.
jomama717 writes "Another chapter in the fascinating life of Srinivasa Ramanujan appears to be complete: 'While on his death bed, the brilliant Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan cryptically wrote down functions he said came to him in dreams, with a hunch about how they behaved. Now 100 years later, researchers say they've proved he was right. "We've solved the problems from his last mysterious letters. For people who work in this area of math, the problem has been open for 90 years," Emory University mathematician Ken Ono said. Ramanujan, a self-taught mathematician born in a rural village in South India, spent so much time thinking about math that he flunked out of college in India twice, Ono said.'"
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Ramanujan's Deathbed Conjecture Finally Proven

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 28, 2012 @12:24AM (#42408721)

    Ono's team did not prove the Ramanujan Conjecture. It was proven a long time ago, in 1974 by Deligne as part of his proof of the Weil conjectures

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Friday December 28, 2012 @12:53AM (#42408843) Journal
    Newton was very much after glory and fame. Became an MP, attended the House of Lords, (but never delivered a speech ever), got himself appointed as the Controller of the Mint and excessively obsessed about priority and credit. BTW logarithms were calculated by John Napier, not Newton.

    Ramanujan is a totally different ball game. Completely self thought, from a book of identities and formulae. He found a sort of Cliff notes for the BA in Math in England. He assumed that is the way to present mathematics. Just the final result without any deriviation or proof. Did not know what was already invented and well known. He reinvented the wheel so to speak so many times. Almost all the major math break throughs of the previous century, he reinvented all over again, independently. Think about it. One century of mathematicians original work completely reinvented by this lone clerk toiling away in colonial India working as a harbor master's assistant. He presented his inventions without any proof or even a hint of how it was arrived at. Most of his first letters were rejected as some crackpot's ravings by math professors in England. Hardy was the only one who saw that among all the well known identities, that were being presented as new inventions, were real gems never seen before. He invited Ramanujan to England and the rest was history.

    A special tit bit: BTW he and I both have the same ancestral temple, that of Lord Oppiliappan at Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu, but his favorite god was not Oppiliappan, but Nama Giri Devi, the ancestral god of his mother's family. I wish we were related. His personal life was very sad. Died at age 30. His wife was left as a destitute and ended up working as house maid.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 28, 2012 @01:05AM (#42408895)

    The summary is fine, it's just not very specific. A conjecture of Ramanujan's was proved, and it was one appearing in his final letter to Hardy.
    The conjecture most often referred to as the "Ramanujan Conjecture" was something he had published 4 years earlier.

  • by viperidaenz (2515578) on Friday December 28, 2012 @01:09AM (#42408915)

    Why do you think we have such advanced technology? Because people specialise in very narrow fields. A person doesn't have infinite capacity to learn and invent. They also don't have infinite time, or any method of instantly transferring knowledge.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 28, 2012 @01:21AM (#42408971)

    Yes as if you have been to Indian colleges. I really hate people just shooting from their behind.

    I studied at IIT Delhi and Columbia. At Columbia easy to score an A in every subject and at IIT I got one A barely.
    Trying getting into an undergraduate course in IIT, you will know the worth of good Indian colleges. Sometime, Google the number of IITians and IIM graduates in high position in USA, it will open you mind.

  • by thePsychologist (1062886) on Friday December 28, 2012 @01:50AM (#42409113) Journal

    The summary is actually referring to other conjectures from his notebooks and other notes, not 'the' Ramanujan conjecture as proved by Deligne, so the summary is not really incorrect, just misleading. It should be noted that these other conjectures are in fact not unusually important and certainly not even close to the Weil conjectures, but are nevertheless interesting.

  • by binarstu (720435) on Friday December 28, 2012 @02:27AM (#42409277)

    Probably not much brighter than what we consider reasonably bright...

    From what evidence did you draw this conclusion? I'm not personally qualified to assess Ramanujan's brilliance (and neither are you, I suspect), but G.H. Hardy, the western mathematicion who worked most closely with Ramanujan, certainly was. What did he think? "I have never met his equal, and can compare him only with Euler or Jacobi." [usna.edu] By all accounts, Ramanujan's abilities went way, way beyond "not much brighter than what we consider reasonably bright". He possessed one of the most gifted mathematical minds in recent history.

  • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Friday December 28, 2012 @04:59AM (#42409645) Homepage

    It would usually only be a tit bit if you are referring to one of the gods with 8 or 10 breasts or something like that. In most other cases, it would be a tidbit ;-).

    While "tidbit" is standard American English, this word has had different spellings in previous years and in different regional standards. (The OP is from India, so some differences in his English can be expected). See e.g. Merriam-Webster [merriam-webster.com] for a mention of the alternative spelling "titbit".

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