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Why India Celebrates National Mathematics Day on December 22nd- And Why It's Still Important

National Mathematics Day India
India Post, Government of India, GODL-India, via Wikimedia Commons

National Mathematics Day in India is a day celebrated to remember the life of great mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan. Born on this day in 1887 to a Tamil Brahmin Iyengar family at Erode, Tamil Nadu, Ramanujan showed early signs of being a mathematics prodigy and in his short life lived through an awe-inspiring journey that not only unravelled many mathematical principals but also placed him squarely among the greatest minds of all time. 

This day was recognized in 2012 by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who announced that 22nd December will be celebrated as National Mathematics Day by the country. 

While he lacked formal education and only excelled in mathematics, young Ramanujan later was known to be recognised for his mastery of continued fractions and had worked out the hypergeometric series, Riemann series, functional equations of the zeta function and elliptic integrals. At a young age, he found theorems to solve complicated trigonometric problems, and by the age of 17, he won a scholarship to study at Government Arts College in Kumbakonam. However, he failed to do well in any other subjects while excelling brilliantly in maths, thereby losing his scholarship. 

 S. Ramanujan joined Trinity College a few months before the outbreak of World War I. In 1918, he became the first Indian to be elected a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.

In 1919, he returned to India due to his poor health and a year later, lost his fight to tuberculosis and passed away on April 26, 1920, at the age of 32.

On this day, it is important to remember the importance of mathematics in our everyday lives, whether it be critical thinking or any kind of problem-solving skills, to it being the gateway and key to all sciences.