Srinivasa Ramanujan was one of the greatest mathematicians India has ever produced. His contributions to the theory of numbers brought him worldwide acclamation. He was born in a poor Brahmin family of south India on 22nd December, 1887. Due to lack of scope, he started his career as a clerk. In his spare time he used to devise mathematical Problems himself and solve them.

When he was 15 years old he obtained a copy of George Shoobridge Carr’s Synopsis of Elementary Results in Pure and Applied Mathematics. Having verified the results in Carr’s book, Ramanujan went beyond and developed his own theorems. In 1903 he secured a scholarship from the University of Madras. But since he devoted himself fully to mathematics and neglected other studies it was forfeited the following year.

But undeterred, Ramanujan continued with his work in extreme poverty without employment. He got married in 1909 and began to search for a permanent employment. He obtained a clerical post with the Madras port trust.

Ramanujan published his first research papers in the journal of the Indian Mathematical Society in the year 1911. His genius slowly gained recognition and in 1913 he began a correspondence with the British mathematician Godfrey H. Hardy that led to a special scholarship from the University of Madras and a grant from Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1914 Ramanujan went to England, where Hardy tutored him privately and collaborated with him in some research.

Ramanujan’s genius was unrivalled. He worked out the Riemann series, the elliptic integrals, hyper geometric series, and the functional equations of the Zeta function and his theory of divergence series. In England, Ramanujan made further advances, especially in the partition of numbers. His papers were published in English and European journals. In 1918 he became the first Indian to be elected as a Fellow to the Royal Society of London.

In 1917 Ramanujan got tuberculosis and so he returned to India. He died at Chelput in Madras on 26th April, 1920.