CP Ramanujam, the Man Who Made Magic with Math

On CP Ramanujam’s birth anniversary, the man who changed the face of math as we know it. 

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(The Quint is reposting this piece from its archives on the birth anniversary of CP Ramanujam. This story was first published on 9 January 2018.)

On 9 January 1938, Chakravarthi Padmanabhan Ramanujam, the man who created magic with numbers, was born to a humble family in Madras.

After completing his schooling in Madras, he joined Loyola College. Encouraged by his mentor, Father Racine, Ramanujam moved to Bombay to study in TATA Institute of Fundamental Research.


Those who knew Ramanujam, say his passion for mathematics was infectious.

He loved mathematics and he was always ready to take up a new thread or pursue an old one with infectious enthusiasm. He was equally ready to discuss a problem with a first year student or a colleague, to work through an elementary point or puzzle over a deep problem.
Mathematician David Mumford

Ramanujam was almost always successful in coming up with results which would be "new, beautiful and with a genuine original stamp," Mumford had once said.

A year after he was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1964, Ramanujam resigned from his position at TIFR Mumbai and went to Chennai for treatment – after having briefly worked as a professor in Chandigarh.

He was elected a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences in the year 1973. A year later, after he returned to India from the University of Warwick where he was invited by Mumford as a visiting professor.

On 27 October 1974, Ramanujam overdosed on barbiturates and breathed his last. He was 37.

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