Jeffrey Newman recommends the book and film : The Man Who Knew Infinity

I am trying to find interesting books and films both new and not so new and this weekend, I stumbled on one. That is how these things seem to be found for me, mistake and happenstance when I am looking. Perhaps someone will find a more systematic method of stirring up quality writing forgotten and re-found. I suspect it will be an algorithm which sees patterns of thought or ideas. Nonetheless, my find this weekend was a film called The Man Who Knew Infinity which is a 2015 biographical drama based on the 1991 book by Robert Kanigel by the same name. It tells the amazing and true story of Srinvasa Kamanujan, who grew up poor in Madras India and who possessed incredible skill and insight for mathematics. He is brought to Trinity College and finally publishes his work and is recognized as one of the most insightful mathematicians who ever lived. I found the film engaging enough but what I really want to do is to read the book to try to understand how someone without formal education could train his mind to create new mathematical theorems. Of course there is much more to Mr. Kamanujan’s life but I won’t spoil it for you here. I will, however, write a review of the book next week.

Jeffrey Newman