A Global Search for Undiscovered Mathematical Talent
Atlanta, Georgia - July 26, 2016
Introducing the inaugural Spirit of Ramanujan Math Talent Initiative, which strives to find undiscovered mathematicians around the world and match them with advancement opportunities in the field.
The Spirit of Ramanujan Math Talent Initiative is presented by Ken Ono, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Mathematics at Emory University; Expii, the open, personalized learning platform; and the Templeton World Charity Foundation, in conjunction with IFC Films and Pressman Film, producers of the motion picture The Man Who Knew Infinity.
The creators of the Spirit of Ramanujan Math Talent Initiative were inspired by the life of Srinivasa Ramanujan, a gifted mathematician and the subject of the The Man Who Knew Infinity. In 1913, Ramanujan, a poor Hindu college dropout who was self-taught in mathematics, reached out to renowned British mathematician G.H. Hardy in his search for mathematical peers and colleagues. Hardy was so astonished by Ramanujan's mathematical theories that he invited Ramanujan to Cambridge to study and collaborate. From the start, Ramanujan was fighting against the odds because of his poverty, his location, and the inflexibility of formal schooling. Yet with his brilliant mind, his dreams, and the support of the mathematical community, he defied those odds and went on to change the future of mathematics. Together with Hardy, Ramanujan innovated vast tracts of mathematics before returning to India in fragile health. Tragically, he died at 32, leaving three enigmatic notebooks that drive cutting-edge research to this day.
The Spirit of Ramanujan Math Talent Initiative strives to find undiscovered mathematicians around the world and match them with advancement opportunities. These include:
An open round hosted on expii.com (via its Solve feature) invites people worldwide to solve creative mathematical puzzles through their smartphones.
Participants in the open round will be invited to apply for further enrichment. Up to 20 eligible individuals will be awarded Templeton-Ramanujan Scholarly Development Prizes to use for furthering their educational pursuits and development. Just as Ramanujan's journey was transformed by his introduction to the mathematical community, successful applicants will be invited to participate in the 2017 Joint Mathematics Meetings, which will be held in Atlanta from January 4-7. There, they will engage with award-winning mathematicians (e.g., Fields Medalists, Cole Prize winners, Steele Prize winners, etc.) Organized by the Mathematical Association of America and the American Mathematical Society, the JMM is the largest annual mathematics conference in the world. Its purpose is to advance mathematical achievement, encourage research, and provide the communication necessary to progress in the field.
In the spirit of Ramanujan, up to 10 participants will be offered financial support to attend and participate in approved summer research in mathematics. They will receive a Templeton-Ramanujan Summer Fellows Prize to cover summer program expenses.
Educational materials related to Srinivasa Ramanujan and The Man Who Knew Infinity will be offered to interested educational programs.
We're very excited to announce that we've found the first "genius" from our search. Ishwar Karthik is a 12-year-old son of Indian immigrants now living in Qatar, and we heard about him when we were beginning to establish our network. After seeing his mathematical prowess in our Expii open round, we connected him with Professor Ahmad El-Guindy of Texas A&M, who has been working with him every week.
We are preparing to offer Ishwar one of the Templeton-Ramanujan prizes and to invite him to Atlanta to attend a math conference and meet some Fields medalists.
The Spirit of Ramanujan Math Talent Initiative is headed by Ken Ono with an advisory board that also includes Manjul Bhargava (Princeton), Olga Holtz (UC Berkeley), Po-Shen Loh (Carnegie Mellon), and Sujatha Ramdorai (U British Columbia).
Corporate Sponsors of the Spirit of Ramanujan Math Talent Initiative include Expii, Texas Instruments, Springer Publishing, and Maplesoft.
The Man Who Knew Infinity (directed by Matthew Brown and starring Jeremy Irons and Dev Patel) was advised by Ken Ono, a Guggenheim Fellow and cofounder of the Spirit of Ramanujan, and by Fields Medalist Manjul Bhargava. The film offers an in-depth view of one of the human stories behind the mathematical achievements that we take for granted in our everyday lives. For more information on the movie, visit www.themanwhoknewinfinity.com.