The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius, Ramanujan Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Robert Kanigel
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What was Ramanujan's father's employment?

2. What did Ramanujan's parents do in response to their impatience?

3. What was Ramanujan's family's status?

4. Where did Hardy attend college?

5. What did Ramanujan use as evidence of his credentials in interviews?

Short Essay Questions

1. What problems in Ramanujan's thinking came from his use of 'A Synopsis of Elementary Results in Pure and Applied Mathematics'?

2. How was Ramanujan's first paper received?

3. Describe the difference between English mathematics and Continental mathematics.

4. How did Ramanujan's temperament reveal itself when he was a child?

5. What is Shiva the god of?

6. How did Ramanujan distinguish himself as a math student?

7. What happened after Ramanujan left Pachaiyappas College?

8. Describe Ramanujan's place of birth.

9. Why did Ramanujan's parents have a hard time finding a wife for him?

10. Describe Ramanujan's experience at Pachaiyappas College in Madras.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

What kind of mathematical thinker was Ramanujan? What kinds of problems was he attracted to, and how did he deploy his intelligence to solve them? What kinds of problems did he avoid?

Essay Topic 2

Having reached a degree of fame, Ramanujan attempted suicide because he could not solve all the problems around him. Why was Ramanujan incapable of handling this inevitable limitation? Where else in his life were his needs far beyond the realm of what was possible?

Essay Topic 3

Ramanujan once ran away from home. Describe his relationship with his family, and the running-away temperament: what was he running to? Cite another time when he 'ran away' from things? Did he ever have a feeling of arrival in a place that redeemed the problems with his family or immediate environment?

(see the answer keys)

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