In 1887, in the town of Kumbakonam
A baby boy, Ramanujan, was born.
His mom knew in her heart,
From the stars she could chart,
This was no ordinary mind.
The boy grew and played,
While the mother sat and prayed,
Namagiri give us guidance and strength.
With each passing year,
It grew increasingly clear
This was no ordinary mind.
The teachers at school,
Didn’t know what to do
With this young man, so many years ahead.
One gave him a math book by Carr –
5000 equations to explore.
For better or worse, a blessing may be a curse.
He lost interest in everything but math.
His notebooks filled with formulas
that no one had conceived;
but his college courses suffered,
so he was asked to leave.
His mother arranged him a marriage
To eleven-year old Janaki.
Now he had to beg for a job
To feed his new family.
Boarded a train bound for Madras
Leaving his family, his new wife, far behind.
Showed his notebook to Inida’s brightest
Hoping to find, at last, another brilliant mind.
Someone who’d understand… his math…The math was too far above them
And so his spirits sank.
They had no way to determine
Was he a genius or a crank?
And so he sent out letters
To those who might understand
Twas Hardy who finally recognized
The brilliance of this man.
He’d found someone to understand… his math…
Boarded a ship, bound for Cambridge
Leaving his country, his people, so far behind.
Thus began math’s most famous collaboration,
Between these two extraordinary minds.
Hardy welcomed him to Cambridge.
Helping his talent to take wing.
But among his skills there was a weakness:
He had never learned how to prove things.
Ramanujan’s conjectures were ingenious
Despite all the gaps in his knowledge.
With Hardy supplying the details and proofs,
The results were astounding.
His insights on continued fractions,
Primes, and diverging series
Dazzled the best mathematicians,
Alluding to brand new theories.
And with each new paper he published,
He was one step closer to fame,
Fulfilling his secret desire,
That the world would remember his name.
Srinivasa Ramanujan (4x)
Cut off from his home and his loved ones,
He felt an acute isolation.
The respect he had earned from his colleagues
At times seemed a small consolation.And with England weather so dreary,
His body was wasting away.
While hospitalized for consumption,
The royal society honored his name.
Srinivasa Ramanujan (8x)
In 1919, his health was so poor,
It was finally time to make the journey home.
To spend his final days in the town of Kumbakonam,
With the bride he’d hardly known.
The last year of his life,
While nursed by his wife,
He recorded 600 new ideas.
To this very day,
His notebooks remain
A source of equations to explore.
And one thing’s for sure,
Though his life was cut short,
The world will remember his name.
Source: Words and Music by Mark Engelberg http://archive.org/details/Ramanujan