The Incredible Mind of Ramanujan

                                                                             By Ramana Annamraju MedBricks 

 “The finite mind of man can never grasp the mysteries of the infinite. It is the highest wisdom, as it is our great happiness, to accept our limitations, to use what we have, and leave the rest to God.” - George Washington Well, once upon a time. there lived a man who wants to know the mind of God!

As the Novel Coronavirus devastating humanity, it stunned from the front line healthcare workers to world-class scientists with its mysterious beginnings to its elusive behavior. But it did not bypass the premonition of a young man who lived almost one hundred years ago in Southern India. He scribbled mathematical equations on a slate with chalk to save paper, which could unravel the virus-like structure to its core.

When he was pressed, about how he arrived at those equations, he claimed that local Goddess Namagiri, a different form of Goddess Lakshmi, an idol sent him a message in his dreams. That would have been the end of the story for anyone's career, but wait until you hear the accolades from world-class mathematicians and scientists

His name is Srinivasa Ramanujan ( Dec 22, 1887- April 26th, 1920) was born in a town of temples, home of countless gods and goddesses in the state of Tamilnadu, India. He was a self-taught mathematician with barely any book on his hand of relevance.

Michio Kaku says of Ramanujan, “Srinivasa Ramanujan was the strangest man in all of mathematics, probably in the entire history of science. He has been compared to a bursting supernova, illuminating the darkest, most profound corners of mathematics."

( Ramanujan) had some sort of magic tricks that we don’t understand,” says late Freeman Dyson of the Institute for Advanced Study from Princeton University.

Mark Zuckerberg - “ With partial math book, he did entire modern mathematics and moved the field forward..Just think if he had access to the internet.

Ken Ono professor of mathematics at Emory University in Atlanta, who studied Ramanujan papers in detail says,” Ramanujan's work in mathematics is the epitome of intuition, for a brief window of time, five years, he lit the world of math on fire,"

GH Hardy the well-respected Professor of mathematics at Cambridge and the direct supervisor of Ramanujan said, "the most satisfying thing in my life, was meeting my student, Ramanujan".

Mathematics is the language of science, it includes, physics, chemistry, biology, and of course medicine. The infamous spikes on the surface of the Novel Coronavirus are Protein molecules. Proteins are everywhere. Without them, we do not exist. Proteins are essential workers of the body, They take instructions from DNA algorithms

It is believed that around 20,000 to 400,000 protein types exist in the human body. But surprisingly they are all made up of just 20 amino acids. Just these 20 amino acids use different permutations and combinations to fold and form proteins. How do we get this vast diversity of life just from 20 amino acids?.

Here is the mathematical kick.!

Folding! How many ways, you can crumple a piece of paper? You cannot answer! It is beyond human comprehension. If you take the smallest chain with 100 amino acids long, and each position has 20 options, the resulting permutations and combinations are 20 to the power of 100. It is a huge number! Let me show how big is just 10 to the power of 100 is.

. If you give a name to every atom in the universe, you may still be left with zeros.

The smallest protein molecule can fold an astounding number of ways. Our human minds are not geared to grasp exponents. Multi-Level marketing guys try to explain, and most of them are wrong even at the second order. To understand the complexity of life, first, we have to understand the mathematics of exponents. To understand these gigantic numbers, we need Sreenivasa Ramanujan!

The complexity of protein folding can be explained through another example, your wife’s jewelry box. After returning from a nice party, she takes her necklace and drops it off into her jewelry box. The necklace randomly folds into a certain pattern. Now, would you like to guess how long and how many attempts it takes to repeat the exact pattern?

Hold your breath …If she does this every day, it takes a jaw-dropping Billion years, even that, she will not come close to halfway to reaching the exact pattern. Human minds cannot wrap around this absurdly simple process, but it runs into unfathomable complexity and gigantic numbers. But, not for one man in this story, that is, Sreenivasa Ramanujan.

Spike Protein folding is similar to necklace folding but a million times more complex... The fastest computer on the planet like the IBM summit at National Oak Ridge laboratories near Knoxville, Tennessee will take thousands of years to emulate protein folding without the help of number theory.

That is where Sreenivasa Ramanujan's mathematics comes to the rescue. Ramanujan was not afraid of these mind-boggling numbers. Ramanujan sees beauty and pattern in these numbers. He was Brahmin by birth, but Brahmin is not a caste unlike popular belief, it is being perfectly tuning with nature. Viruses or any other micro-living or non-living have to follow nature’s laws that are, expressed through mathematics.

Mathematics is the underpinning of our nature. Spike Protein and its complex folding, unfolding, and wiggling are no exceptions. They have to follow the embedded equations of nature. Ramanujan knows what those equations are. Ramanujan may not have heard the word "Virus" but surely he knows their behavior through his mathematical imagination. There are two mathematical ways to extract the patterns from spike protein 1) Fourier series invented by famous French Mathematician Joseph Fourier, 2) Ramanuajn’s Sum by Srinivasa Ramanujan. Vaidyanathan an Indian from the same state of Ramanujan is the Kiyo and Eiko Tomiyasu Professor of Electrical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology, and his doctoral student Srikanth Tenneti, further developed "Ramanujan Sums" into “Ramanujan Subspaces.


Scientists could able to unravel the virus structure, by using next century devices like X-ray Crystallography with the power of unparalleled detection and sophistication, combined with the mathematics of Fourier series and/or Ramanajuan Subspaces. The spike protein folding is photographed and videotaped in record time.,

It is a stunning insight into this deadly virus by a man who lived 100 years ago, even before the word “virus” is invented. Ramanujan lived in a simple home with no running water and no electricity. He produced some of his best work in front of oil-lit lanterns. It is not that uncommon to find even today several Indian physicians and engineers in America who studied under oil lanterns, including myself.

Ramanijan's mathematical functions pervade every field of science, modern cosmology, string theory, computational biology, and quantum computers to name a few. You may not recognize his presence behind the ATMs. Distributing cash in different permutations and combinations ( $100=( $20x3) + ( 4x5) +(20x1) ) is really unsolved problem in mathematics. .The integer partitions are the most complex ones, the closest solution to this problem came from Ramanujan.

Ramanujan was inducted into the Royal fellow of Great Britain, it is unprecedented honor for a dark-looking man for those times, where once Isaac Newton was a fellow. Shortly after returning to India from his fellowship in England, Ramanujan died at the age of 32, with Tuberculosis on April 26th, 1920. Ken Ono, Professor of Mathematics at Emory University on Ramanuajn's centennial lecture, said that he is still trying to grapple with the mind of Ramanujan.. A man who prayed an idol, produced the most dazzling mathematical equations of this century. On one end of the spectrum, blind faith and the other end is a rigorous logical process of the highest order, Ramanujan entertained blind faith on one side and logic&reason on the other, without any conflict in his mind.. An Indian programmer can pray to a cow in the morning and writes incredible computer code in the afternoon without conflict. It is a tribute to those people like Srinivasa Ramanujan.

Faith and logic are two sides of the same coin, That is a hidden secret of India’s incredible success. We can extend this concept to other diametrically opposing ideas of capitalism and socialism, ideas of containment, and freedom. If there is morale, that is Republicans. Democrats, Americans, Chinese, Indians, and Mexicans are all just labels and belong to the same human race. Sreenivasa Ramanujan is the ultimate symbol of the human imagination and sheer power of the human mind, what we can achieve, and what we can imagine!

To honor this extraordinary man we are releasing T=shirt

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  1. This is a nice blog to commemorate the findings and philosophy Ramanujam’s findings and the intricacies of math woven into our daily life.


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