Free movie, dinner and discussion: The man who knew infinity

The College of Science will treat mathematics, physics and statistics students and faculty to an evening of movie, dinner and a Skype discussion with OSU alumnus (BS & MS ’60) and world famous mathematician, Dr. George Andrews on Thursday, May 26. The group will watch “The Man Who Knew Infinity” the recently released biographical drama film on the life of Indian mathematical genius, Srinivasa Ramanujan at Darkside Cinema at 3:30 pm.

The film portrays the relationship between Ramanujan and University of Cambridge number theorist G.H. Hardy in the early 1900s and Ramanujan’s experiences with English racism during his visit to Trinity College.

After the movie, the College of Science will host a 45-minute Skype discussion with professor Andrews, who is the Evan Pugh Professor of Mathematics at Pennsylvania University and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Among his many towering mathematical achievements, Andrews is perhaps best known for his work on Ramanujan’s “Lost Notebook” as it is called in the mathematical community.

A few months before he passed away, Ramanujan had spoken about his new work on theta functions which physicists use in their study of the heat equation. However, he didn’t leave behind any published work on the subject and nothing more was known about his contributions to this branch of mathematics until Andrews’ amazing find.

Andrews discovered Ramanujan’s “Lost Notebook” in a library of Trinity college, Cambridge in 1975. Excitedly leafing through the 100-odd loose pages, Andrews found they contained 600 equations in all—revolutionary mathematical findings on mock theta functions—of which only a fifth had been independently discovered in the years after Ramanujan’s death in 1920.  In the decades following his discovery, Andrew has co-authored several books that provide proofs of most of the theorems listed in “the Lost Notebook.”

Delicious pizza will be served during the discussion. The movie and discussion will give students a renewed appreciation of the human dimensions of mathematics and a fascinating peek at the history and legacy of twentieth-century mathematics.

Mathematics, physics and statistics students and faculty can click here to RSVP today

Source: http://www.pnas.org/content/102/13/4663.full

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