Srinivasa Ramanujan
Overview
Srīnivāsa Aiyangār Rāmānujan FRS, better known as Srinivasa Iyengar Ramanujan (22 December 1887 – 26 April 1920) was a India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

n mathematician
Mathematician
A mathematician is a person whose primary area of study is the field of mathematics. Mathematicians are concerned with quantity, structure, space, and change....

and autodidact who, with almost no formal training in pure mathematics
Pure mathematics
Broadly speaking, pure mathematics is mathematics which studies entirely abstract concepts. From the eighteenth century onwards, this was a recognized category of mathematical activity, sometimes characterized as speculative mathematics, and at variance with the trend towards meeting the needs of...

, made extraordinary contributions to mathematical analysis
Mathematical analysis
Mathematical analysis, which mathematicians refer to simply as analysis, has its beginnings in the rigorous formulation of infinitesimal calculus. It is a branch of pure mathematics that includes the theories of differentiation, integration and measure, limits, infinite series, and analytic functions...

, number theory
Number theory
Number theory is a branch of pure mathematics devoted primarily to the study of the integers. Number theorists study prime numbers as well...

, infinite series and continued fraction
Continued fraction
In mathematics, a continued fraction is an expression obtained through an iterative process of representing a number as the sum of its integer part and the reciprocal of another number, then writing this other number as the sum of its integer part and another reciprocal, and so on...

s. Ramanujan's talent was said by the English mathematician G.H. Hardy to be in the same league as legendary mathematicians such as Gauss
Gauss
Gauss may refer to:*Carl Friedrich Gauss, German mathematician and physicist*Gauss , a unit of magnetic flux density or magnetic induction*GAUSS , a software package*Gauss , a crater on the moon...

, Euler, Cauchy, Newton
Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton PRS was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian, who has been "considered by many to be the greatest and most influential scientist who ever lived."...

and Archimedes
Archimedes
Archimedes of Syracuse was a Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, and astronomer. Although few details of his life are known, he is regarded as one of the leading scientists in classical antiquity. Among his advances in physics are the foundations of hydrostatics, statics and an...

and he is widely regarded as one of the towering geniuses in mathematics.

Born in Erode
Erode
Erode is a city, a municipal corporation and the headquarters of Erode district in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu.It is situated at the center of the South Indian Peninsula, about southwest from the state capital Chennai and on the banks of the rivers Cauvery and Bhavani, between 11° 19.5"...

, Tamil Nadu, India, to a poor Brahmin family, Ramanujan first encountered formal mathematics at age 10.
Quotations

An equation for me has no meaning unless it expresses a thought of God.

Quoted in The Man Who Knew Infinity : A Life of the Genius Ramanujan (1992) by Robert Kanigel, p. 67