The Man Who Knew Infinity

book by Robert Kanigel

The Man Who Knew Infinity is a 2015 British biographical drama film about the Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan, based on the 1991 book of the same name by Robert Kanigel.

  • Don't you see? An equation has no meaning to me unless it expresses a thought of God.


G. H. Hardy: Why do you think they want us to fail?
S. Ramanujan: Because I am Indian.
G. H. Hardy: Well, yeah, there is that. But also because of what we represent. Now, Euler and Jacobi, who were they?
S. Ramanujan: Mathematicians.
G. H. Hardy: Just names to you. Euler was the most productive mathematician of the 18th century. Most of his work done after he was blind. Jacobi, like you, was snatched from obscurity, and was almost as impressive as Euler. Now, I think you are in their class. What they had in common, what I see in you, is a love of form. It's all through your notebooks. Let me ask you something. Why do you do it, any of this?
S. Ramanujan: Because I have to. I see it.
G. H. Hardy: Like Euler. Form for its own sake, an art unto itself. And like all art, it reflects truth. It's the only truth I know. It's my church.

G. H. Hardy: There are many ways to be honored in life. For us, being elected a Fellow is certainly one, but in my humble opinion, to leave a legacy here at the Wren after we're gone, is the greatest. This library houses the Epistles of Saint Paul, the poems of Milton, Morgan's Bible. But in my estimation, as a man of numbers, the pièce de résistance is Newton's Principia Mathematica. Now, just as Newton represents the physical aspect of our work, your notebooks represent the abstract. Took a long time for Newton to be proved, which is is why we have an obligation to prove these. And if we do, I believe that one day … one day, these notebooks will find their place here. Now, do you understand what's at stake here?
[S. Ramanujan nods]
G. H. Hardy: Good.



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