The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius Ramanujan Audiobook | Robert Kanigel | Audible.com
We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius Ramanujan | [Robert Kanigel]

The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius Ramanujan

In 1913, a young, unschooled Indian clerk wrote a letter to G. H. Hardy, begging that preeminent English mathematician's opinion on several ideas he had about numbers. Hardy, realizing the letter was the work of a genius, arranged for Srinivasa Ramanujan to come to England. Thus began one of the most remarkable collaborations ever chronicled.
Regular Price:$27.97
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

In 1913, a young, unschooled Indian clerk wrote a letter to G. H. Hardy, begging that preeminent English mathematician's opinion on several ideas he had about numbers. Hardy, realizing the letter was the work of a genius, arranged for Srinivasa Ramanujan to come to England. Thus began one of the most remarkable collaborations ever chronicled.

With a passion for rich and evocative detail, Robert Kanigel takes us from the temples and teeming slums of Madras to the courts and chapels of Cambridge University, where the devout Hindu Ramanujan, "the Prince of Intuition", tested his brilliant theories alongside the sophisticated and eccentric Hardy, "the Apostle of Proof". In time, Ramanujan's creative intensity took its toll: he died at the age of 32, but left behind a magical and inspired legacy that today is still being plumbed for its secrets.

©1991 Robert Kanigel; (P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Moving and astonishing." (Publishers Weekly)
"Extremely well-researched and well-written biography." (Library Journal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (73 )
5 star
 (23)
4 star
 (27)
3 star
 (12)
2 star
 (6)
1 star
 (5)
Overall
3.9 (28 )
5 star
 (9)
4 star
 (11)
3 star
 (6)
2 star
 (0)
1 star
 (2)
Story
4.0 (28 )
5 star
 (12)
4 star
 (9)
3 star
 (4)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (2)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Roger South Orange, NJ, United States 05-23-08
    Roger South Orange, NJ, United States 05-23-08 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    278
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    368
    48
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    10
    0
    Overall
    "Thorough and Enjoyable"

    This book explores (1) the influences of South India on Ramanujan's development, (2) the influences of the British educational system and society on GH Hardy and the other English scholars with whom Ramanujan met and worked and (3) the effects of those different influences on both Ramanujan and the English, personally and professionally.

    Mathematical achievement is at the core of Ramanujan's story, and Kanigel does a good job of integrating it. A vague memory of high school math is required of the listener, and Kanigel uses that basis to explain both the directions and importance of Ramanujan's work, without trying to explain the specifics. The technical discussions are woven into the story, and do not at all get in its way.

    While the book celebrates Ramanujan's improbable rise to success, overcoming tremendous obstacles, it also examines those obstacles, created by the British Raj and unfortunately persisting into the post-colonial Indian educational system.

    While decrying the failings in Ramanujan's formal education, Kanigel also speculates on whether the broader South Indian culture, particularly the flexibility within Hindu religious traditions, allowed Ramanujan to approach mathematics less rigidly than could his English colleagues. No answers are attempted, but his questions are profound.

    17 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barry Petaluma, CA, United States 08-18-12
    Barry Petaluma, CA, United States 08-18-12 Member Since 2006

    My interests run to psychology, popular science, history, world literature, and occasionally something fun like Jasper Fforde. It seems like the only free time I have for reading these days is when I'm in the car so I am extremely grateful for audio books. I started off reading just the contemporary stuff that I was determined not to clutter up my already stuffed bookcases with. And now audio is probably 90% of my "reading" matter.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    218
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    191
    165
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    16
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Finally! A biography for Srinivasa Ramanujan!"

    I've been waiting for this book for over 30 years. Every math major knows the famous anecdotes and the bare outline of his life, but to finally get to read about him in detail is so much more satisfying. Was he being used by the English establishment? Did moving to England cost him his life? These are questions that remain ambiguous. That he could have been more actively sponsored in his new home is unquestionable. That his choices contributed to the sort of benign neglect he suffered becomes a little more clear. This was clearly a guy who needed an active mentor, but who also pretty much got to do what he wanted. That critical balance between intervention and self-determination is at the core of this story. However, given that this is biography, that issue is left mostly to the reader to contemplate alone. The author's job is to show us what happened and leave us to draw our own conclusions. Listening to a book that includes math can be frustrating. The few math examples in the book can hardly be understood by having someone try to read out the complex equations. We are left with a kind of general idea of what those equations are supposed to convey. If his math is your primary interest, this is probably not the book for you, or at least the audio version is not for you. A biography of course should deal with a person's life, and here also despite Kanigel's best efforts the inner Ramanujan remains an elusive character. However, it's the best we have.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Manoj Acton, MA, United States 05-03-11
    Manoj Acton, MA, United States 05-03-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "well researched, excellent book, great narration"

    I don't write very many reviews but this book encouraged me to write one.

    Its hard to write a book on Ramanujan without the mention of mathematics but the author does a wonderful job to not put off non mathematicians while listening. One can appreciate the profound activity without getting into the details.

    The nice thing to appreciate, other than Ramanujan's work is also the leadership shown by Hardy. The English mathematician could recognize and appreciate the genius in the man without any pride especially after other senior mathematicians like Baker and Hobson failing to do so. I wish we have more of such leaders in today's world who can recognize talent and encourage it. Think about the thousands of Ramanujan's that exists in this world today but go un-noticed cause they have not found their Hardy or vice versa.

    On the other hand its amazing to see that such a gifted man was driven to a point in his life so as to contemplate suicide. The man not only suffered from tuberculosis but also the usual mother-in-law daughter-in-law conflicts that has plagued the society for centuries now. May be the world just does not deserve to have the gifts of such a genius. Just unfortunate he did not live long enough.

    The book is quite long for me but thoroughly enjoyable.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ramana Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, United States 11-10-13
    Ramana Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, United States 11-10-13 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Shadow the Genius"
    What did you love best about The Man Who Knew Infinity?

    The detail and narration makes you feel walking with the life of the Genius. The associated cultural context was well described.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Rags to Intellectual riches story and highlighting the intuitive genius overcoming the knife-edge slip into oblivion and fighting against odds with the help of available opportunities - ia amazing.


    Which character – as performed by Humphrey Bower – was your favorite?

    Ramanujan of course - especially reading of the letters was amazing.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I planned to listen over couple of weeks (17+ hours), but ended up finishing in 8 days


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mahesh copley, OH, United States 02-12-12
    Mahesh copley, OH, United States 02-12-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Thorough and Captivating!"

    A thorough and captivating biography of Ramanujan! Very well written and read. A bit too long, as it covers the biography of GH Hardy as well. But, it is more than made up by the interesting writing style, detail and presentation. I loved it!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-5 of 5 results

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

CANCEL

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.