Saturday, April 01, 2006

Ramanujam goes to Hollywood

Another Beautiful Mind in the making? Two producers are competing to bring the life of an impoverished self-taught Indian mathematician to the big screen.

Here's some dope on Srinivas Ramanujam, taken from a website. Fictitious or not, you decide:

The teacher was asking some simple questions in arithmetic. The class was learning the simple operation of division. When the teacher asked how many bananas would each boy get if three bananas were divided equally among three boys, someone had an answer. One each. Thousand bananas divided equally among thousand boys? The answer was still the same. One. The class was progressing thus, questions being asked by the teacher and answers being provided by the student. But there was a boy who had a question. If none of the bananas was divided among no boys, how much would each boy get? The whole class burst into laughter at what the students thought was a fast one or a silly question. But the teacher seemed to have been impressed. He took it upon himself to explain to the boys that what the student had asked was not a silly question but rather a profound one. He was questioning the teacher about the concept of infinity. A concept that had baffled mathematicians for centuries, until the Indian scientist Bhaskara had provided some light. He had proved that zero divided by zero was neither zero nor one, but infinity. The student was Srinivas Ramanujam.

Ramanujam had a fruitful association with mathematician GH Hardy, who arranged for him to travel to Cambridge University to study.

Hardy was amused to find that Ramanujam was an unsystematic mathematician, who played with maths much as a child played with toys. His mathematical truths were not explained and it was left to other mathematicians to prove them. He called their collaboration "the one romantic incident in my life."

Now, producer Edward Pressman has acquired rights to Robert Kanigel's biography The Man Who Knew Infinity. The feature is in competition with another just-announced Ramanujan film.

Actor Stephen Fry plans to co-direct and write the movie with Indian director Dev Benegal. The two were in India recently to make the announcement.

Fry is most well-known for his portrayal of Jeeves in the series Jeeves and Wooster, adapted from PG Wodehouse's collection.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think you should correct the name, it is Ramanujan and not Ramanujam