The Untrained Mathematician Questions & Answers

Hi Everyone!! This article will share The Untrained Mathematician Questions & Answers.

In my previous posts, I have shared the questions and answers of The Chocolate Cream Soldier, How’s My Coal and What Makes Me Indian so, you can check these posts as well.

The Untrained Mathematician Questions & Answers

Question 1: Choose the correct option:

(a) Ramanujan impressed his maths teachers and bewildered his classmates because

i. he worked out maths problems skipping most of the steps.
ii. he filled notebooks with intricate theorems and formulae.
iii. he failed his FA exams twice in a row despite being a genius.
iv. he was genius but was able to concentrate only on maths.

(b) Young Ramanujan’s interest in maths was a problem in school and college because

i. he taught his classmates maths in the history class.
ii. he did not concentrate on other subjects and failed in exams.
iii. his scholarship was withdrawn.
iv. his answers skipped many steps.

(c) In his letter to Ramanujan, Hardy

i. makes promises.
ii. conveys praise.
iii. dismisses him.
iv. ridicules him.

(d) When Hardy went through Ramanujan’s letter and mathematical papers, he

i. had doubts about the validity of Ramanujan’s work.
ii. was ashamed of his own mathematical skills.
iii. was quite excited by Ramanujan’s genius.
iv. compared it with another mathematician’s work.

Question 2: He did not offer any proof for his theorems, perhaps because he saw no need for them. Which theorems are referred here? Did Ramanujan not see any need for proof because the conclusions were obvious to him or because he did not know the steps?

Answer: The theorems in Ramanujan’s first paper, published in the Journal of the Indian mathematical society in 1911 are mentioned here.
No, Ramanujan did not see any need for proof because the conclusions were obvious to him.

Question 3: ……. You will not be able to follow my methods….. I didn’t mean that the methods should be buried with me. What method is Ramanujan speaking of? Who would not be able to follow his methods? Were his methods confusing?

Answer: Ramanujan is speaking of the methods that are used to get at his mathematical conclusions. G H Hardy would not be able to follow his methods. Ramanujan’s methods were not confusing but he did not demonstrate all the steps.

Question 4: Why does Hardy express his reservations about Ramanujan’s work initially?

Answer: After a casual look at Ramanujan’s theorems, Hardy first dismissed them as strange because the results were very unusual and they were not accompanied by detailed steps.

Question 5: What do Ramanujan’s and Hardy’s letters tell us about their attitude to each other?

Answer: Ramanujan held Hardy in very high respect and valued his opinion. In his letter, Ramanujan is very polite and respectful to Hardy. Even though initially Hardy was suspicious of Ramanujan’s work later, he was very impressed by Ramanujan. He writes so in his letter and requests Ramanujan to submit proofs of his mathematical statements. In his letter, Hardy is polite, firm and respectful.

Question 6: How did Hardy help discover and nurture Ramanujan’s genius?

Answer: Hardy was fascinated by Ramanujan’s work and accepted him as brilliant. He requested Ramanujan to send him detailed proofs of his mathematical conclusions so that he could evaluate him properly. He spoke about Ramanujan to his friends and also got others to look at Ramanujan’s work. He arranged for Ramanujan to join Cambridge, even getting his friend to accompany him on the journey. Over the years, both of them collaborated on several projects.

So, these were The Untrained Mathematician Questions & Answers.

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