Ramanujan’s First Letter to G.H. Hardy

On or about the 31st of January 1913, mathematician G.H. Hardy of Trinity College at Cambridge University received a parcel of papers from Madras, India which included a cover letter from an aspiring young Indian mathematician by the name of Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887–1920). The cover letter discussed three topics:

  1. An introduction of Ramanujan and his precarious situation;

  2. A claim about the domain of the gamma function; and

  3. A claim about the distribution of prime numbers;

This essay provides an overview of the mathematical content of Ramanujan’s first letter, as well as Hardy’s reaction and response. Read more