Robert Kanigel's Man Who Knew Infinity, The: Life of the Genius Ramanujan is a biography that evokes to the common reader the full scale of the genius of its subject. Kanigel engages with the life and work of Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan, his contributions to mathematical analysis, number theory, infinite series, and continued fractions. The manner in which Ramanujan developed, independently of European context and influence, his own method which allowed him to arrive at already discovered theorems independently and considerable enlarge the respective field of study.
The Man Who Knew Infinity, The: Life of the Genius Ramanujan covers his career as a mathematician in relation to the larger social context of his upbringing. Ramanujan is portrayed as a man of two worlds. He was on the cutting edge of pure mathematics, but he was also a devout Brahmin from an orthodox family. He was raised in the Indian education system and as per the laws of the time, married a minor girl. Despite this, Ramanujan sought to engage with the wider world and wrote letters detailing his research to major figures in mathematics, finally gaining the attention to Cambridge mathematician G. H. Hardy. Hardy compared Ramanujan to Leonhard Euler and Carl Gauss.
Robert Kanigel's The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of The Genius Ramanujan is available in a paperback edition. It is the definitive biography of Ramanujan, impeccably researched in tackling the intricacies of the mathematical contributions and the social context. It is written in a simple, accessible style for the casual reader. Kanigel is an American biographer and writer of numerous articles on science for newspapers and magazines like the Baltimore Sun, The New York Times, The Washington Post. He also wrote The One Best Way: Frederick Winslow Taylor and the Enigma of Efficiency and Apprentice to Genius: The Making of a Science Dynasty. The paperback edition of this book having the ISBN-10 number 0349104522 and ISBN-13 number 978-034910452, can be purchased online.