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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Man Who Knew Infinity (2016)

This is a really interesting story that is well told with two great actors.  Dev Patel plays Srinivasa Ramanujan, a self-taught Indian mathematician whose contributions to the field were considered massive enough to have inspired a Google doodle on the 125th anniversary of his birth in 2012.  Jeremy Irons plays a Cambridge fellow, G.H. Hardy who on the one hand recognizes the genius of Ramanujan, but on the other wants him to follow a rigor that does not settle well with him.  He sees mathematical formulas, and writes furiously in notebooks about these insights, but he doesn't do well within the structure of proofs, which is the bread and butter of Hardy's world.  hardy fails to recognize the myriad of obstacles that Ramanujan faces.  They include being a vegetarian in a meat loving culture, being Indian in the British Empire, where he is subject to almost constant racism.  Then there is Hardy's atheism juxtaposed against Ramanujan's devout faith.  They just do not connect, and the film lays those layers out, and displays the obstacles that could have led to even more.  So it is sad and hard to watch and a good story all in one.

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