Our next mathematician takes us all the way back to India about 130 years ago where a child named Ramanujan was born and would grown up to become a famous genius mathematician with mysterious extraordinary talent. Since a young age he spent a lot of time self-studying mathematics and independently discovered great amount of impressive mathematical formulas. When he was a student at elementary school his teacher taught that any number divided by itself is equal to 1. However, Ramanujan corrected his teacher that zero divided by zero is actually equal to any number.
Ramanujan continued to self-study mathematics and eventually reach by letter to the most famous mathematician of his time Professor Hardy of the University of Cambridge in England. It took some time before Hardy realized that Ramanujan's letter was a real letter from a genius far away in India and not some kind of prank played on him. After exchanging many letters with Professor Hardy, Ramanujan left his young wife in India and traveled by boat to England to work with Hardy in Cambridge.
Ramanujan discovered almost 4000 remarkable mathematical formulas, some of which where considered impossible to solve. The mysterious twist is that he could not prove them. When he was asked how he knows that the discovered formulas are correct, he answered that the Hindu God Namakkal is whispering them in his ears. Based on his answer, we assume that he had some kind of direct perception for mathematics, as if Ramanujan could think about numbers and their relationships directly, bypassing the processes people normally go though in their minds. For Ramanujan mathematics was something spiritual far away from anything rigid and mechanical. the mysterious spiritual aspect made his colleagues very uncomfortable, but they could not argue with his extraordinary results. This raises the question that perhaps there could be other more effective ways to learn mathematics than the usual conventional methods?
At NoBoxToday Company we are entertaining the idea of the possibility that young kids may have similar direct perception like the one of Ramanujan, but it gets overwritten in their minds once they study conventional methods of mathematics. It's a wild and fascinating idea that encourages us to be very delicate and curious about young kid's mathematical education. We treat every kid as if he is a future Nobel Prize winner, a genius that we just can't comprehend, but we do our best. That's why we are careful not to bound the delicate creative minds of kids with our conventional assumptions. The future will be built by the kids that refused to go in the box. The ones with a character of NoBoxToday!
Ramanujan is the second mathematician we introduce in NoBoxToday after Euclid’s Points and Lines. Kids start by watching an animated story about Ramanujan’s trip to England and his study of partitions.
Next kids get to play an exercise game to discover partitions by themselves.
Ramanujan spend a lot of his time studying Partitions, which is a mathematical concept of the numbers of ways a given number can be described as the sum of smaller or equal numbers, not considering the order of the numbers. For example, the 3 partitions of number 3 are:
1. The first partition: 3=1+1+1
2. The second partition: 3=1+2
3. The third partition: 3=3
Fonally below a summary all the partitions if number 3.
Go ahead, download NoBoxToday for iPad and try out Ramanujan’s partitions yourself, or better together with your kids.