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The Short Life of Srinivasa Ramanujan

The Short Life of Srinivasa Ramanujan

On December 22, 1887, Indian mathematician and autodidact Srinivasa Ramanujan was born. Though he had almost no formal training in pure mathematics, he made major contributions to mathematical analysis, number theory, infinite series, and continued fractions. Supported by English mathematician G. H. Hardy from Cambridge, Ramanujan independently compiled nearly 3,900 results during his short life, which all have been proven correct. “Sir, an equation has no meaning for me unless it expresses…
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G. H. Hardy and the aesthetics of Mathematics

G. H. Hardy and the aesthetics of Mathematics

On December 1, 1947, English mathematician G. H. Hardy passed away. Hardy is known for his achievements in number theory and mathematical analysis, but also for his 1940 essay on the aesthetics of mathematics, A Mathematician’s Apology, and for mentoring the brilliant Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. “A mathematician … has no material to work with but ideas, and so his patterns are likely to last longer, since ideas wear less with time…
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Veerabhadran Ramanathan and the Brown Clouds

Veerabhadran Ramanathan and the Brown Clouds

On November 24, 1944, Indian atmospheric scientist Veerabhadran Ramanathan was born. He has contributed to many areas of the atmospheric sciences including developments to general circulation models, atmospheric chemistry, and radiative transfer. But, he is best known for his 1999 discovery of the “Asian Brown Cloud” – wandering layers of air pollution as wide as a continent and deeper than the Grand Canyon. Veerabhadran Ramanathan received his bachelor’s degree in engineering from Annamalai…
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Salim Ali – the Birdman of India

Salim Ali – the Birdman of India

On November 12, 1896, Indian ornithologist and naturalist Sálim Ali was born. Sometimes referred to as the “birdman of India“, Salim Ali was among the first Indians to conduct systematic bird surveys across India and several bird books that he wrote helped popularise ornithology in India. Along with Sidney Dillon Ripley he wrote the ten volume Handbook of the Birds of India and Pakistan. Salim Ali was born into a Sulaimani Bohra Muslim…
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C. V. Raman and the Raman Effect

C. V. Raman and the Raman Effect

On November 7 1888, Indian physicist and Nobel Laureate Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman was born. Raman carried out ground-breaking work in the field of light scattering, which earned him the 1930 Nobel Prize in Physics. He discovered that when light traverses a transparent material, some of the deflected light changes in wavelength. This phenomenon, subsequently known as Raman scattering, results from the Raman effect. Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman first studied at the Presidency College…
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Narinder Singh Kapany – The Father of Fiber Optics

Narinder Singh Kapany – The Father of Fiber Optics

On October 31, 1926, Indian-born American physicist Narinder Singh Kapany was born. He coined the term fibre optics for the technology transmitting light through fine glass strands in devices from endoscopy to high-capacity telephone lines that has changed the medical, communications and business worlds. Narinder Singh was born in Punjab, India. In 1952, this earlier work led Kapany to conduct studies that led to the invention of optical fibre. A graduate of…
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Al-Biruni and his Contributions to Astronomy

Al-Biruni and his Contributions to Astronomy

On September 4, 973, Muslim scholar Al-Biruni was born. He is regarded as one of the greatest scholars of the medieval Islamic era and was well versed in physics, mathematics, astronomy, and natural sciences, and also distinguished himself as a historian, chronologist and linguist. He is referred to as the founder of Indology for his remarkable description of early 11th-century India. Abu Rayhan al-Biruni was born in Khwarazm now better known as Karakalpakstan.…
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Pierre Janssen and the Discovery of Helium

Pierre Janssen and the Discovery of Helium

When watching the total eclipse on August 18, 1868 in Madras, British India, French astronomer Pierre Janssen discovered the new chemical element Helium. Janssen also is credited with discovering the gaseous nature of the solar chromosphere. Youth and Education Janssen was born in Paris in 1824. An accident when he was young left him extremely lame and it is for this reason that he was unable to go to school. He studied at…
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