Mathematicians Of The Day

8th February

On this day in 1913, G H Hardy answered the letter he had received from Ramanujan containing the latter's results. Hardy's letter begins:-
I was exceedingly interested by your letter and by the theorems which you state. You will however understand that, before I can judge properly of the value of what you have done, it is essential that I should see proofs of some of your assertions. Your results seem to me to fall into roughly three classes:
(1)  there are a number of results that are already known, or easily deducible from known theorems;
(2) there are results which, so far as I know, are new and interesting, but interesting rather from their curiosity and apparent difficulty than their importance;
(3)  there are results which appear to be new and important ...

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Quotation of the day

From John von Neumann
The sciences do not try to explain, they hardly even try to interpret, they mainly make models. By a model is meant a mathematical construct which, with the addition of certain verbal interpretations, describes observed phenomena. The justification of such a mathematical construct is solely and precisely that it is expected to work.