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Srinivasa Ramanujam was one who never lost his joy at learning something new. As a boy he astounded his teachers with his insight and intuition, and he grew up to be one of the greatest mathematicians of all time.

RAMANUJAM, the world class mathematician, was born on December 22, 1887. he studied at the Town High School at Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu. He did for homework mathematical exercise like everyone of us. But he did not stop with that, he made a bobby of mathematical explorations. A few situations will make you appreciate and admire the student Ramanujam and may help you to discover the potential maths wizard in you. 1. Your teacher tells you that when a number is divided by itself, the outcome is 1. does it make you ask the question, “Is it true when the number is zero?” Not only did Ramanujam raise it, but also found the answer. Take for instance 12/4=3. This is true because 4x3=12. Now consider 0/0 since 0x any number is 0, 0/0 gives any number. In other words, 0/0 cannot give a unique answer as in divisions with non zero number divisor. So 0/0 should be indeterminate. This is what Ramanujam did. He was confident enough to raise it and explain it in the class to the wonder of his classmates and his teacher. His teacher did not know it as it was not in the syllabus and the textbook and no such question had ever been asked at that level. 2. Your teacher teaches you square and and square root. You are able to understand that 9=3² and 3=√9. Does it stir your imagination and set you on a voyage of pattern finding? See what Ramanujam does. He writes 3=√(1+8) 3=√(1+{2x4}) 3=√(1+{2x√16}) 3=√(1+{2x√1+15}) 3=√(1+{2x√[1+3x5]}) and so on. He stops when he seized of and hence thrilled by an emerging pattern. 1, 2x4, 3x5, 3, 4x6, 4, 5x7 and so on. At once he jots down a new mathematical clothing for 3. 3=√ 1 + 2 √ 1 + 3 √ 1 + 4√ 1 + 5√ 1 + etc. He baffles others by rubbing 3 off and posing the problem: Evaluate the “net of square roots.” 3. Your teacher teaches you repeated multiplication of the same number and the laws of exponents or indices. She teaches you also prime factorization involving use of exponents. You learn to write 72 = 2 x 2 x 2 x 3 x 3 = 2² x 3³ Does it make you look for and devise a pattern? See what Ramanujam does:

First he takes (2²) x (6 exp 6). From this he gets 3³ x 3³ x 4 exp 4 and writes 2² x 6 exp 6 = 3³ x 3³ x 4 exp 4 His aesthetic sense drives him to develop it to have a beautiful sequence. (1 exp 1) x (1 exp 1) x (2 exp 2) x (6 exp 6) = (3 exp 3) x (3 exp 3) x (4 exp 4) what is the beauty in this? Can you discover it and make your own examples? Find the sums of the bases on wither side of the equality sign. Are they not equal? Next find the sums of the exponents on either side. Of course they are equal as the bases and their exponents on either side. Of course they are equal as the bases and their exponents are the same in each case. But the bases and their powers on one side of the equality are different from those on the other side and yet the products are equal. He gets immense delight and finds himself reeling off many more such beautiful equalities and recording them in his notebooks which are today world famous. 4. Your teacher teaches you prime numbers. A prime number has two and only two distinct factors, 1 and the number itself. This gives a test to find if a number is prime. If a number has two and only two distinct divisors, the number is prime. All this you understand and feel comfortable about. Does it make you eager to play with prime numbers? Ramanujam takes sets of consecutive primes and tries to find an equality among them-an exercise in pure intutition. No formula can help you here. He succeeds and jots down his findings in his notebooks. Taking 2, 3, 5 and 7, a four element set of consecutive prime numbers, he writes 3 +7 = 2.5 (dot means times) Next he takes 2, 3, 5, 7 and 11, a five element set of consecutive prime numbers and discovers an equality among them. 2.5 + 11 = 3.7 and so on. Can you add your own? 5. He goes in another direction and discovers another beautiful pattern, involving this time products of consecutive prime numbers. Here is his jotting. ¼ + 2 = (1½)² ¼ + 2.3 = (2½)² ¼ + 2.3.5 = (5½)² ¼ + 2.3.5.7 = (14½)² and so on. Can you find the next one? Do you know what he scored in mathematics exam papers? Centum always How did he manage to do it? He loved mathematics and read books other than the prescribed text book. Carr’s synopsis of mathematics roused him. To be a Ramanujam, you should not only be good at congruent thinking as required by your teachers, textbooks and tests but also be bold in doing divergent thinking, through raising or being put to non-routine and open-ended questions.

Keep your own Doubts book and discoveries book. Don’t brush aside your doubts and don’t dismiss your discoveries. While getting your doubts cleared through your own efforts, study or consultation, you make discoveries and while making discoveries, you get doubts. So, remember that your doubts are sacred and your discoveries develop you. That is the way to discover the Ramanujam in you. 6. Do you know that the first chapter in his notebooks deals with magic squares? So let us round of our tribute to him by emulating him through building his 107th birthday magic square with each of its rows, colums and diagonals totaling 146. All the number entries are different. 22 28 66 30 12 100 20 14 19 3 23 101 93 15 37 1

Even if you are in third standard, you can build this as it requires only additive and subtractive skills with two or three digit numbers. Schools may ask a class three child to greet the day on every special event meet with its date magic square soon after invocation, to create an atmosphere for mathematics, the most basic of all arts and sciences. Since the magic squares built here uses the four numbers 22, 12, 19 and 93 entered in the first row of the 16 cell square, is not unique, you can pay your tribute by building another magic square with the same four numbers making up the date of his 106th birth anniversary. Discover the partial sum patterns of equality, before you engage yourself in this marvelous intellectual exercise.

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