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The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius, Ramanujan Themes

Robert Kanigel
This Study Guide consists of approximately 31 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Man Who Knew Infinity.
This section contains 808 words
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Themes

Creativity vs. Rigor

In The Man Who Knew Infinity, the conflict between creativity and mathematical rigor arises again and again. From Ramanujan's first letter on we are aware of Ramanujan's sparkling and original mathematical creativity. Many of the theorems he sent Hardy were true and original, but they lacked the rigorous proofs that mathematicians require traditionally. Hardy replied to Ramanujan's first letter that proposing the theorems was not enough and he needed to actually prove them. Hardy was a mathematician that prized rigor and proof above all else, while it was clear that Ramanujan was best when he was speculating and creating theorems that would be proved by others later. In fact, many of the theorems that Ramanujan developed but did not prove were later used or proved by other mathematicians. One question that arises is to what extent was Ramanujan helped or hindered by his encounter with Hardy...

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This section contains 808 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius, Ramanujan Study Guide
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The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius, Ramanujan from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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