Friday, 18 May 2012

Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887-1920)

Ramanujan was born in Erode, a small village in Tamil Nadu on 22 December 1887. When he was a year old his family moved to the town of Kumbakonam, where his father worked as a clerk in a cloth merchant’s shop.When he was nearly five years old, Ramanujan enrolled in the primary school. In 1898 he joined the Town High School in Kumbakonam. At the Town High School, Ramanujan did well in all subjects and proved himself an able all round scholar. It was here that he came across the book Synopsis of Elementary results in Pure Mathematics by G. S. Carr. Influenced by the book, he began working on mathematics on his own, summing geometric and arithmetic series.

He was given a scholarship to the Government College in Kumbakonam. However his scholarship was not renewed because Ramanujan neglected all subjects other than mathematics. In 1905 he appeared for the first Arts examination which would have allowed him to be admitted to the University of Madras. Again he failed in all subjects other than mathematics, a performance he repeated in 1906 and 1907 too. In the following years he worked on mathematics, with only Carr’s book as a guide, noting his results in what would become the famous Notebooks.

He got married in 1909 and started looking for a job. His search took him to many influential people, among them Ramachandra Rao, one of the founding members of the Indian Mathematical Society. For a year he was supported by Ramachandra Rao who gave him Rs. 25 per month. He started posing and solving problems in the Journal of the Indian Mathematical Society. His research paper on Bernoulli numbers, in 1911, brought him recognition and he became well known in Chennai as a mathematical genius. In 1912,
with Ramachandra Rao’s help, he secured the post of clerk in the accounts section of the Madras Port Trust. He continued to pursue mathematics and in 1913 he wrote to G. H. Hardy in Cambridge, enclosing a long list of his own theorems. Hardy immediately recognized Ramanujan’s mathematical ability. On the basis of Hardy’s letters, Ramanujan was given a scholarship by the University of Madras in 1913. In 1914, Hardy arranged for him to go to Trinity College, Cambridge.

Ramanujan’s work with Hardy produced important results right from the beginning. In 1916 Ramanujan graduated from Cambridge with a Bachelor of Science by Research. In 1918, he was elected a Fellow of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, and a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, all in the same year! However, from 1917 onward he was seriously ill and mostly bedridden. In 1919 he returned to India, in very poor health.

Ramanujan made out standing contributions to analytical number theory, elliptic functions, continued fractions, and infinite series. His published and unpublished works have kept some of the best mathematical brains in the world busy to this day.

Guglielmo Marconi (1874 –1937)

Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

Galileo was born in Pisa, Italy on February 15, 1564. His father, Vincenzo Galilei, was a musician. Galileo's mother was Giuliadegli Ammannati. Galileo was the first of six (though some people believe seven) children. His family belonged to the nobility but was not rich. In the early 1570's, he and his family moved to Florence. Galileo was never married. However, he did have a brief relationship with Marina Gamba, a woman he met on one of his many trips to Venice. Marina lived in Galileo's house in Padua where she bore him three children. His two daughters, Virginia and Livia, were both put in convents where they became, respectively, Sister Maria Celeste and Sister Arcangela. In 1610, Galileo moved from Padua to Florence where he took a position at the Court of the Medici family. He left his son, Vincenzio, with Marina Gamba in Padua. In 1613, Marina married Giovanni Bartoluzzi, and Vincenzio joined his father in Florence.

  In 1581, Galileo began studying at the University of Pisa University of Pisa, where his father hoped he would study medicine. While at the University of Pisa, Galileo began his study of the pendulumwhile, according to legend, he watched a suspended lamp swing back and forth in the cathedral of Pisa. However, it was not until 1602 that Galileo made his most notable discovery about the pendulum - the period (the time in which a pendulum swings back and forth) does not depend on the arc of the swing (the isochronism). Eventually, this discovery would lead to Galileo's further study of time intervals and the development of his idea for a pendulum clock.

In 1592, Galileo was appointed professor of mathematics at the University of Padua. While teaching there, he frequently visited a place called the Arsenal, where Venetian ships were docked and loaded. Galileo had always been interested in mechanical devices. Naturally, during his visits to the Arsenal, he became fascinated by nautical technologies, such as the sector and shipbuilding. In 1593, he was presented with the problem involving the placement of oars in galleys. He treated the oar as a lever and correctly made the water the fulcrum. A year later, he patented a model for a pump. His pump was a device that raised water by using only one horse.

Galileo invented many mechanical devices other than the pump, such as the hydrostatic balance. But perhaps his most famous invention was the telescope. Galileo made his first telescope in 1609, modeled after telescopes produced in other parts of Europe that could magnify objects three times. He created a telescope later that same year that could magnify objects twenty times. With this telescope, he was able to look at the moon, discover the four satellites of Jupiter, observe a supernova, verify the phases of Venus, and discoversunspots. His discoveries proved the Copernican system which states that the earth and other planets revolve around the sun. Prior to the Copernican system, it was held that the universe was geocentric, meaning the sun revolved around the earth.

Planet Vulcan

A small planet that was supposed to exist in an orbit between Mercury and the Sun, French mathematician Urbain Jean Joseph Le Verrier coined the name “Vulcan” while trying to explain the nature of Mercury’s orbit. No such planet was ever discovered, while the orbit of Mercury was explained in detail by Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

John Locke

The Blank Slate theory (or Tabula rasa), widely popularized by John Locke in 1689, proposed that individuals are born without built-in mental content and that their knowledge comes from experience and perception. Modern research suggests that genes and other family traits inherited from birth, along with innate instincts of course, also play a very important role.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Sir Isaac newton inventions

Sir Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton was born in 1642 in a manor house in Lincolnshire, England. His father had died two months before his birth. When Isaac was three his mother remarried, and Isaac remained with his grandmother. He was not interested in the family farm, so he was sent to Cambridge University to study.

Isaac was born just a short time after the death of Galileo, one of the greatest scientists of all time. Galileo had proved that the planets revolve around the sun, not the earth as people thought at the time. Isaac Newton was very interested in the discoveries of Galileo and others. Isaac thought the universe worked like a machine and that a few simple laws governed it. Like Galileo, he realized that mathematics was the way to explain and prove those laws. Isaac Newton was one of the world’s great scientists because he took his ideas, and the ideas of earlier scientists, and combined them into a unified picture of how the universe works.