MATC Mathematics Club
Lecture #

Madison Area Technical College
Madison, Wisconsin


Spring 2009 Presentation #100 (November 19, 2010)

Professor David Bressoud, Macalester College, MN and President, Mathematical Association of America

"Srinivasa Ramanujan, A Self-Taught Genius"

Abstract: Srinivasa Ramanujan, 1887 - 1920, was a brilliant mathematician from southern India who taught himself most of the mathematics he knew. This talk will describe his tragically short life, his collaboration with G. H. Hardy, and the rediscovery of his "Lost Notebook" in 1976. It also will use his life as an opportunity to say something about approximations to pi, continued fractions, and elliptic functions.

Biography: David Bressoud is DeWitt Wallace Professor of Mathematics at Macalester College and President of the Mathematical Association of America. He served in the Peace Corps, teaching math and science at the Clare Hall School in Antigua, West Indies before studying with Emil Grosswald at Temple University and then teaching at Penn State for 17 years. He chaired the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Macalester from 1995 until 2001. He has held visiting positions at the Institute for Advanced Study, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Minnesota, Université Louis Pasteur (Strasbourg, France), and the State College Area High School. David has received the MAA Distinguished Teaching Award (Allegheny Mountain Section), the MAA Beckenbach Book Award for Proofs and Confirmations, and has been a Pólya Lecturer for the MAA. He is a recipient of Macalester's Jefferson Award. He has published over fifty research articles in number theory, combinatorics, and special functions. His other books include Factorization and Primality Testing, Second Year Calculus from Celestial Mechanics to Special Relativity, A Radical Approach to Real Analysis (now in 2nd edition), A Radical Approach to Lebesgue's Theory of Integration, and, with Stan Wagon, A Course in Computational Number Theory.


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