The original measuring rod consisted in dividing the difference of the two rates of variation in curvature by the square of the difference of the two curvatures. The modified measuring rod announced today is the inverse of the original,
namely, it consists in dividing the
square of the difference in curvature by the difference of the rates of variation of the two curvatures.
Tells of Ramanujan's Genius
This evening Professor Godfrey
Harold Hardy of Cambridge University delivered before the symposium "Physical Sciences" and
the "Mathematics" section of the
conference a lecture about the
Indian mathematician, Ramanujan,
who for several years before his
death in 1920 at the age of 33 was
Professor Hardy's student and coworker.
Ramanujan was generally regarded as a mathematical genius,
Unusual and unorthodox. He received very little formal education
in India and, to his death, wasj
badly trained in some of the most
essential fields of mathematics.
But in other directions he developed theorems concerning problems that had baffled the best
European mathematicians for a
His prodigious memory and feeling for numbers have supplied a
number of interesting anecdotes.
"I have to form to myself, as I
have never really formed before,
and to try to help you to form,"
said Professor Hardy, "some sort
of reasoned estimate of the most;
romantic figure in the recent history of mathematics; a man whose
career seems full of paradoxes and
contradictions, who defies almost
all the canons by which we are
accustomed to judge one another,
and about whom all of us will probably agree in one judgment only,
that he was in some sense a very
great mathematician.
"The difficulties in judging Ramanujan are obvious and formidable enough. Ramanujan was an
Indian, and I suppose that it is always a little difficult for an Englishman and an Indian to understand one another properly.
"He was, at the best, a half-educated Indian; he had never had
the advantages, such as they are,
of an orthodox Indian training; he
was never able to pass the 'the
first arts examination* of an Indian
university, and could never rise
even to be a 'failed B. A.'
Much "Re-discovery" in His Work
"He worked, for most of his life,
in practically complete ignorance
of modern European mathematics,
and died when he was a little over
30 and when his mathematical edu some ways hardly
"He published abundantly—his
published papers make a volume of
nearly 300 pages—but he also left
a mass of unpublished work which
had never been analyzed properly
until the last few years.
"This work includes a great deal
that is new, but much more that
is re-discovery, and often imperfect
re-discovery; and it is sometimes
still impossible to distinguish between what he must have rediscovered and what he may somehow have learned.
"I cannot imagine anybody saying with any confidence, even now,
just how great a mathematician he
was and still less how great a
mathematician he might have been.
"The difficulty which is greatest
for me has nothing to do with the
obvious paradoxes in Ramanujan's
career. The real difficulty for me
is that Ramanujan was, in a way,
my discovery.
"I did not invent him—like other
great men, he invented himself—but
I was the first really competent
person who had the chance to see I
some of his works, and I can still j
remember with satisfaction that 11
could recognize at once what a
treasure I had found. And I suppose j
that I still know more about Ra- !
manujan than any one else, and am j
still the first authority on this par- I
ticular subject.
"There are other people in Eng- I
land, Professor Watson in particu- j
lar, and Professors Mordell, who
know parts of his work very much
better than I do, but neither Watson nor Mordell knew Ramanujan
himself as I did.
"I saw him and talked to him almost every day for several years,
and above all, I actually collaborated with him. I owe more to him
than to any one else in the world
with one exception, and my association with him is the one romantic
incident in my life.