National Mathematics Day

Ravi worked for a multinational company. He was constantly being transferred from one region to another. At times, he felt as if he was steering the life of vagabonds, but the fact that his most affectionate family, consisting of his wife, Savita, and his son, Pranay, were by his side wherever he went, relieved him.

When he was a kid, Ravi was a sincere student, outshining others in the academic arena but the subject which captivated him the most was Mathematics! His father was a professor of Mathematics and thus, his house would be brimming with books on Mathematics, the various thesis, research papers, literally the answer to every query of Mathematics could be answered by these books. Ravi would read at least two books each day, discussing it with his father but his father didn’t want him to pursue the field of teaching. He felt that Ravi was an outstanding student and should choose that career path, which pays him abundantly by his qualifications. Therefore, Ravi complying with his father’s demands took the route of being an engineer in an MNC but not even for once, was his love for Mathematics diminished. He would still read books related to that subject with absolute interest and enthusiasm.

This time around, Ravi had been transferred to Calcutta. As they landed at the airport, Ravi hailed the cab. As the taxi came to a halt near them, Savita sat inside it, and Pranay followed his father, to keep the luggage at the back of the cab.

Pranay noticed the number of the taxi, “1729!! Well, it’s an unusual number!”, He remarked.

Just as they got seated in the car, Pranay asked his father about the same, “Dad, isn’t a number as 1729, odd for any vehicle. When I grow up, I would choose an interesting and unique number for the car I own, not something like 1729!”

Ravi chuckled and told Pranay, “It would appear as a matter of amusement to you that 1729 is a rather fascinating number for it is related to an astonishing fact of Mathematics!”

Pranay was startled, “Please tell me more about it. I’m intrigued!”

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Ravi continued, “The number 1729 is popularly known as Ramanujan’s number or the Ramanujan-Hardy number. It is the smallest number expressible as the sum of two cubes in two different ways.

The two ways are:

1729 = 1³ + 12³ = 9³ + 10³. The number was named so when the British mathematician G. H. Hardy visited Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan in hospital via a taxi with the same number.”

Pranay exclaimed, “Wow! That’s great. I have read about sir Ramanujan in school, but never had any idea about this fact!”

Ravi added furthermore, “Not only this. Ramanujan has contributed immensely to the field of Mathematics! He worked out the Riemann series, the elliptic integrals, hypergeometric series, the functional equations of the zeta function, and his theory of divergent series, and much more. Also, his birthday, December 22, is celebrated as National Mathematics Day in India to honor this great genius and his contributions.”

On lending his ear to such great pieces of information, Pranay was delighted and was now convinced that 1729 was a unique one to use as the identification number for his car in the future.

Note: This is a work of fictionAny resemblance to a person living or otherwise may be purely coincidental

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