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Mathematics Day, on December 22, celebrates the birth anniversary of India’s famed mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. Ramanujan’s genius has been regarded by mathematicians to be on the same level as Euler and Jacobi from the 18th and 19th centuries. His work in the number theory is especially regarded and made advances in the partition function. Since 2012, India’s National Mathematics Day is recognized on December 22 annually with numerous educational events held at schools and universities throughout the country. In 2017, the day’s significance was enhanced by the opening of the Ramanujan Math Park in Kuppam, in Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh.
History of Mathematics Day
Srinivasa Ramanujan is the brilliant mathematician behind the inspiration for Mathematics Day in India, whose works influenced many across the country and the world. Ramanujan was born in 1887, in Erode Tamil Nadu to an Iyengar Brahmin family. At age 12, despite lacking a formal education, he excelled at trigonometry and developed many theorems for himself.
After finishing secondary school in 1904, Ramanujan became eligible for a scholarship to study at the Government Arts College, Kumbakonam, but could not secure it since he did not excel in other subjects. At the age of 14, Ramanujan ran away from home and enrolled at Pachaiyappa’s College in Madras, where he too only excelled in mathematics without managing the same in other subjects and was unable to finish with a Fellow of Arts degree. Living in dire poverty, Ramanujan instead pursued independent research in mathematics.
Soon, the budding mathematician was noticed in Chennai’s mathematics circles. In 1912, Ramaswamy Iyer — founder of the Indian Mathematical Society — helped him get a clerk position at the Madras Port Trust. Ramanujan then began sending his work to British mathematicians, receiving a breakthrough in 1913 when Cambridge-based GH Hardy called him to London after being impressed by Ramanujan’s theorems.
Ramanujan made his way to Britain in 1914, where Hardy got him into Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1917, Ramanujan was well on his way to success, after being elected to be a member of the London Mathematical Society, and he also became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1918 — one of the youngest to achieve the esteemed position.
Ramanujan returned to India in 1919 because he couldn’t get accustomed to the diet in Britain. His health continued to deteriorate and died in 1920 at the age of 32. However, his achievements in the field of mathematics are still highly regarded across the globe. Ramanujan left behind three notebooks with pages containing unpublished results, which mathematicians continued to work on for years to come. So much so that in 2012, former Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh declared December 22 — the day of Ramanujan’s birth — as National Mathematics Day to be celebrated across the country.
Mathematics Day timeline
Ramanujan is born in Erode Tamil Nadu to an Iyengar Brahmin family, growing up in poverty, and later becoming a brilliant mathematician who left an indelible mark on the field.
Ramanujan becomes one of the youngest people in history to receive a Fellow of the Royal Society, shortly after being elected to be a member of the London Mathematical Society in Britain.
Former Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh declares December 22, the day of Ramanujan’s birth, as National Mathematics Day to celebrate Ramanujan’s achievements.
The prestigious Royal Society — the United Kingdom's national academy of sciences — tweets a special message in honor of the Fellow.
Mathematics Day FAQs
How do we celebrate Math Day?
There are many ways to celebrate Mathematics Day, not just in India but around the world. In India, NASI celebrates National Mathematics Day by conducting a workshop in applications of Mathematics and Ramanujan. The workshop is attended by popular lecturers and experts in the field of mathematics from across the country. Speakers at the national and world level discuss Srinivasa Ramanujan’s contribution to mathematics.
Who is the father of Indian mathematicians?
Aryabhata or Aryabhata I was the first of the major mathematician-astronomers from the classical age of Indian mathematics and Indian astronomy. His works include the Āryabhaṭīya (which mentions that in 3600 Kaliyuga, 499 CE, he was 23 years old) and the Arya-Siddhanta.
What day is World Maths Day?
The International Day of Mathematics (IDM) is a worldwide celebration. Each year on March 14 all countries are invited to participate through activities for both students and the general public in schools, museums, libraries, and other spaces.
How To Celebrate Mathematics Day
Read up about trigonometry
Srinivasa Ramanujan's earliest stories began around the age of 12, mastering the dizzying logic of trigonometry and developing theorems on his own without any assistance. While not everyone feels the need to celebrate mathematics, it’s still an important subject. Why not try learning the concept of trigonometry yourself, or read up about it? It’s actually one of the most important branches of mathematics and is something that every student should focus on. Great trigonometry skills allow students to work out complex angles and dimensions in relatively little time.
Watch the movie about Ramanujan
The brilliant mathematician inspired the field of mathematics and many students across India. If you don’t know much about him, you can watch his incredible story of success from the comfort of your own home. Consider watching ‘The Man Who Knew Infinity,’ starring Dev Patel. It’s a great biopic of Ramanujan’s inspiring journey.
Encourage other students strengths
If there is one important factor to take away from Srinivasa Ramanujan's amazing story and success in the field of mathematics, is that he persevered despite performing horrendously at other subjects such as English, Philosophy, and Sanskrit. This shows that each student has their own strengths and weaknesses, and while it’s always important to do our best, make sure to nurture and complement a student who excels in a particular subject. Who knows, maybe that compliment will help nurture their will to perform better and even pursue their interests to amazing heights!
5 Amazing Facts About Trigonometry
The fundamental identities
There are eight Trigonometric identities called fundamental identities, three of them are called Pythagorean identities as they are based on the Pythagorean Theorem.
An ancient calculation
Trigonometry emerged from applications of geometry to astronomical studies in the 3rd Century BC.
Mathematics as music
Trigonometry is associated with music and plays a major role in musical theory and production — sound waves travel in a repeating wave pattern, which can be represented graphically by sine and cosine functions — a single note can be modeled on a sine curve, and a chord can be modeled with multiple sine curves used in conjunction with one another.
The meaning of Trigonometry
The word ‘Trigonometry’ comes from the word ‘Triangle Measure.’
Trigonometry helps us navigate
If it was the 1700s, and we knew trigonometry, we’d probably be a navigator on a ship — a good navigator can discover their location, even in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, with some trigonometry and a good clock.
Why We Love Mathematics Day
Mathematics is a universal language
Whether you love it or hate it, you can’t deny mathematics is the order of the world and without it, we wouldn’t be able to make much sense of it at all. Mathematics is a methodical application of matter, makes our life orderly, and prevents chaos. Certain qualities that are nurtured by mathematics are the power of reasoning, creativity, abstract or spatial thinking, critical thinking, problem-solving ability, and even more effective communication skills. A day to celebrate this field is a day worth celebrating.
It inspires us to educate ourselves
Mathematics Day is all about celebrating and recognizing the brilliant mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan, who taught himself mathematics more after dropping out of college due to not excelling in other subjects. Without a formal degree, Ramanujan pursued research in mathematics on his own, living in stark poverty, on the brink of starvation. His hard work and passion helped him become one of the most recognized mathematicians today regardless of his bleak circumstances. Hard work, and a little bit of luck, really can lead us to fulfill our dreams.
Practically every career uses math
Obviously, mathematicians and scientists rely on mathematical principles to do the most basic aspects of their work, such as test hypotheses. While scientific careers famously involve math, they are not the only careers to do so. Even operating a cash register requires that one understands basic arithmetic. People working in a factory must be able to do mental arithmetic to keep track of the parts on the assembly line and must, in some cases, manipulate fabrication software utilizing geometric properties to build their products. Really, any job requires math because you must know how to interpret your paycheck and balance your budget!
Mathematics Day dates