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Sunday, June 26, 2011

INTERVIEW of Prof. BRUCE C. BERNDT OF University of Illinois!

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HEMA VIJAY / The Hindu / June 26, 2011.

HOLDING IT WITH PRIDE Prof. Berndt with the slate on which Srinivasa Ramanujan worked out numerous maths theorems.
HOLDING IT WITH PRIDE Prof. Berndt with the slate on which Srinivasa Ramanujan worked out numerous maths theorems.

INTERVIEW Prof. Bruce C. Berndt of the University of Illinois talks to HEMA VIJAY about his research on Ramanujan's theorems and the enigma in his lost notebooks
His favourite photograph of himself is one in which he grins happily, holding an ancient scribbling slate in front of his chest. The slate is no ordinary one; it happens to be the one on which India's prodigal mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan worked out numerous ground-breaking math theorems, as paper was a commodity the math genius could ill afford.

Bruce C. Berndt, Michio Suzuki, Distinguished Research Professor of Mathematics at the University of Illinois, editor of The Ramanujan Journal, and a recipient of the Steele Prize from the American Mathematical Society (for his work explicating the theorems in Ramanujan's Notebooks), was in Chennai recently to meet Indian collaborators such as R. Sivaraman of the Pie Mathematics Association. In his earlier visits, Prof. Berndt had even visited the Town High School at Kumbakonam that Ramanujan studied in, the Port Trust office in Chennai that once employed Ramanujan, and his house in Triplicane, where he met Ramanujan's wife Janakiammal — once in 1984, and again in 1987. “All this gives me more insight into Ramanujan,” he says, adding, “Some of the papers that Ramanujan had left behind got stolen, Janaki told me. How much math was lost, we will never know.”

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