Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | August 4, 2021

Ramanujan & Hardy

(3 Minute Read. 4Aug2021)

Bust of Ramanujan
Birla Industrial & Technological Museum
Kolkata, India

Recently I have been reading about Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887–1920), the brilliant Indian mathematician of a century ago. The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius Ramanujan by Robert Kanigel tells the story of his life.

One of Ramanujan’s discoveries that is still in use today involves the mathematical constant represented by the Greek letter Pi (π) which is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter (C = πD). The number π turns up in many formulas throughout mathematics and physics.

π is an irrational number. Irrational means that it is not the ratio of two integers. Its decimal expansion never ends and never endlessly repeats. The rational number 22 / 7 approximates π to two decimals (3.14), but it is not equal to π.
245850922 / 78256779 is a rational approximation to π that is accurate to 15 decimals (3.141592653589793).
π = 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510. . .

π is also a transcendental number. This means that it is not the solution of any polynomial equation with rational coefficients. The square root of two (√2) is an example of an irrational number that is not transcendental because it is a solution of the polynomial equation X2 – 2 = 0.

Ramanujan discovered this infinite series which can be used to calculate approximations to π:

Ramanujan’s series for π converges extremely rapidly. It is the basis for some of today’s fastest algorithms that calculate approximations to π.

Using only the first term of the series (k=0) gives the π approximation 9801√2/4412 = 3.141592. . . which is accurate to six decimal places. Using just the first two terms of the series (k=0,1) gives the approximation 3.14159265358979. . . which is accurate to 14 decimal places.

Mathematicians have worked for 100 years studying and proving Ramanujan’s numerous results. Some are still unproven.

Sadly, Ramanujan did not know the Great Mathematician whose deep mathematical truths he so amazingly discovered. He was an orthodox Hindu and grew up in a family that prayed to stone idols. He credited his mathematical insights to his family goddess, Namagiri Thayar. He said she sent him visions of scrolls with complex mathematical formulas.

Ramanujan’s mentor at Cambridge University was the mathematician G. H. Hardy (1877–1947). Hardy was probably the premier British mathematician of his time.

In the epilogue of The Man Who Knew Infinity (page 367), Kanigel reports these five New Year’s resolutions that Hardy made one year, probably in the 1930s.
1. Prove the Riemann hypothesis.
2. Find an argument for the non-existence of God which shall convince the general public.
3. Be the first man at the top of Mount Everest.
4. Be proclaimed the first president of the USSR, of Great Britain, and Germany.
5. Murder Mussolini.

Hardy accomplished none of these goals. The Riemann hypothesis is still an open question today. It is probably the most important unsolved problem in mathematics.

Apparently Hardy never considered where his ability to think and reason and discover wondrous mathematical truths came from. Where did his brilliant mind come from?

Hardy was a self-proclaimed lifelong atheist. He refused to even enter chapels for funerals or college functions.

Yet Hardy was not a true atheist. His games with God were a well-known standing joke.

When walking with friends past a church, Hardy would maneuver to keep them between him and the church. Hardy’s idea was that walking too near a church might tempt God to strike him dead with a lightning bolt.

If God does not exist as Hardy claimed to believe, then there is no need for this stratagem by Hardy.

On one occasion before returning by boat from a trip abroad, he mailed a postcard to a colleague stating that he had proved the Riemann hypothesis. He thought this was insurance against the boat sinking because God would not allow him the fame of having solved such a famous problem.

Of course such “insurance” presupposes the existence of God.

According to this Scripture passage from the Apostle Paul, Hardy knew there was a God.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools. (Romans 1:18-22)

Both Ramanujan and Hardy were brilliant mathematicians, some of the best mathematical minds ever. But intellectual brilliance, which is itself a gift of the Great Creator, does not necessarily help one grasp spiritual truth.
For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE.” Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. . . but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. . . But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong. (1 Corinthians 1:18-21,23-25,27)

Questions to Ponder

1. Are you missing God’s truth in some area because of intellectual pride?
2. What can you say to give credit to the Great Creator for your successes in a winsome way?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

For Christ and His Kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria. Alere Flammam Veritatis.

Read the sequel:
π in the Bible

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday August 4, 2021 A.D.

The sum of Thy word is truth, and every one of Thy righteous ordinances is everlasting. (Psalms 119:160)

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Responses

  1. yeah, this is the supposed god that can’t get the value of pi right in its magic book. Nothing to be impressed by.

    Like

    • Watch for next week’s blog article
      π in the Bible
      where I discuss this issue.

      Like

      • yep, you’ll try to lie and claim that it is “close enough”. Alas, a vessel doesn’t hold water in “close enough”.

        Liked by 1 person

        • No, I will not lie. I will offer a reasoned analysis of the passage for readers’ consideration.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I’m looking forward to this.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Another great article! Very thought-provoking. Good job.

    I have a question that is not related to your content today. It’s something I haven’t been able to find answers for, though I truly have not delved deep. I was hoping this is either something you would know, or have studied: about a week ago, on a long drive through the plains, my husband and I continually drove past geological configurations that left me confused. One of these looked like a little spike of land with a wall on top. The piece of land slightly resembled either a price tag or a front tooth: much taller than it was wide, and much wider than it was thick. It was barely thick enough to support the wall at the top of it. The wall led to nowhere and came from nowhere. Furthermore, the huge black stones that built the wall appeared to be at least 18 inches high, with their widths and lengths between two and four feet. These could not have been light-weight stones. There was no need for a wall to be standing atop a little tag of land barely large enough to support its weight. Yet, as we drove, I continued to see more of these mysteries: some appearing by themselves, and others seeming to stand at the edges of mesas or hills. What could be the explanation? These were everywhere in a land that had mostly gone wild, except for the occasional farm or highway. I was thinking they might be yet more evidence of civilizations that pre-dated Noah’s Flood. Would you be willing to write an article on this? Or point me to one you have already written? Inquiring minds want to know. Thank you for your time.

    Thanks again for the work you do educating God’s people and challenging us to keep realigning our thoughts with God’s thoughts. It’s more important work than you know.

    Like

    • Thank you, Gwenon. I appreciate your encouragement.
      Your observations from your trip are extremely interesting. Kudos for being so observant and for analyzing what you see according to Scriptural truth. I’m not familiar with what you described. Where did you see them? I’ll keep this in mind as I continue to study and write.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It was in Southern Colorado, along US Highway 350. Or maybe the upper part of Interstate 25 going north into Colorado. Once I noticed the first piece of land with an unexpected wall on the top, I started noticing what looked like a pattern.

    Thank you so much for looking into this. I expect that if my assessment is correct, any number of these anomalies may be found all over the world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gwennon, this article seems to reference at least some of the region where you saw the distinctive formations.
      http://npshistory.com/publications/geology/bul/613//sec10.htm
      Scroll down to Fig.9 and read the text around it, particularly after Fig.9.
      The area you describe features layers of shale and sandstone. These are described as erosion-resistant. Various layers have been displaced and uplifted. Other more vulnerable substances may have eroded away. In the I-25 and US-350 area, there are also many coal deposits, to which the black color might be related.
      During Noah’s flood, certainly massive deposit of layers occurred, plus tremendous upheaval and displacement of formations. Settling and shifting rates vary greatly and could continue for centuries depending on specific local conditions.
      Could some of these odd appearances have resulted from coal mining, either intentionally or when an area was abandoned?

      Like


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