Jun 072018

The Man Who Knew Infinity  (book Robert Kanigel 1991 and movie 2015).

The story of real-life mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan,  who, after growing up poor in Madras, India, earns admittance to Cambridge University during World War I, where he becomes a pioneer in mathematical theories working with his professor, G. H. Hardy.

Hardy and Ramanujan had highly contrasting personalities. Their collaboration was a clash of different cultures, beliefs, and working styles. Hardy was an atheist and an apostle of proof and mathematical rigour, whereas Ramanujan was a deeply religious man who relied very strongly on his intuition.

Ramanujan’s life on Wikipedia is more informative than write-ups written in reference to the movie.   See  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Srinivasa_Ramanujan:

Near the end of the movie after Hardy learns that Ramanujan, back in India has tragically died at age 32:

 . . . every positive integer is one of Ramanujan’s personal friends . .    An equation for him had no meaning unless it expressed the thought of God.

Well, despite everything in my being set to the contrary, perhaps he is right for is this not exactly our justification for pure mathematics?  We are only mere explorers of infinity in the pursuit of absolute perfection.  We do not invent these formulii.  They already exist.  And lie in wait for only the very brightest of minds like Ramanujan’s ever to divine and prove.  So in the end I have been forced to consider Who are we to question Ramanujan?  let alone God. 



  1.  I just re-watched your film “Glimpses of Heaven“. The light that shines through by the end is worth every minute of the beginning darkness. What a wonderful gift you and the 3 people who tell their story, have given to us. I am forwarding it to others; it will be helpful in their lives and communities. With many thanks to everyone who played a role in this artful work.

2.   Oh! That’s where I recognize your logo from – – I see where “High Plains Doctor” is also one of your films. Wow – – just think of neural pathways in our brains being activated by streams of the stories you tell. We’d have a sea-change, as in the original use of that word by Shakespeare in The Tempest; an element of the supernatural involved.  I think Wayne (Glimpses of Heaven) might call that the “life force” at work.  George might call it, in part, “the inner voice” that brought him to his sister.  And Peter might call it fortuitous encounters – – the right person at the right time.  Or the fact that he was meant to live. (I don’t like speaking for other people; I won’t have captured the complexities.) Once again, many thank-you’s.


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