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Why do we celebrate National Mathematics Day on December 22?

The National Mathematics Day is celebrated annually on December 22 to commemorate the birth anniversary of Mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. Born in 1887 in Erode, Tamil Nadu, Ramanujan had almost no formal training in pure mathematics.

Known as one of the greatest Indian mathematicians of all time, Ramanujan worked on theorems that seemed almost impossible to solve. He is known for the work he did in the areas of continued fractions, Riemann series, elliptic integrals, hypergeometric series and functional equations of the zeta function.

National Mathematics Day — the origin

While Ramanujan passed away at the mere age of 32 (in 1920), it was years later that the Government of India decided to celebrate his birth anniversary in the form of National Mathematics Day.

National Mathematics Day: Srinivasa Ramanujan at Trinity College, Cambridge National Mathematics Day: Srinivasa Ramanujan at Trinity College, Cambridge. (Source: Wikimedia)

In 2012, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declared December 22 as National Mathematics Day, and 2012 was also termed and celebrated as the National Mathematics Year.

Interestingly, the 2012 India stamp also featured Srinivasa Ramanujan. A few years later, in 2017, the Ramanujan Math Park was opened in Kuppam, in Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh on December 22.

Festive offer

In 1991, Robert Kanigel also penned a biography of the Indian mathematician, which was then adopted in the form of a movie by Matthew Brown in 2016. The book and the movie adaptation give a detailed account of his upbringing in India, his achievements and his mathematical collaboration with mathematician GH Hardy.

Srinivasa Ramanujan : National Mathematics Day on December 22. A still from the The Man Who Knew Infinity. 

Theme, aim

Usually, there is no specific theme of National Mathematics Day, and schools celebrate it as per their plans. The aim of celebrating this day is to highlight the achievements of Srinivasa Ramanujan and to stress the idea that having formal and high-end educational training is not the only way to achieve greater accomplishments. Like Ramanujan, children are motivated to go beyond textbooks and engage in critical thinking and logical reasoning.

To celebrate National Mathematics Day, schools and colleges hold competitions, Olympiads and other educational events.

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