G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

H. P. Lovecraft: "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Drawing Rangoli of Pi for the Sheer Joy of Mathematics: Ramanujan @125

Today December 22 2012 is 125th Birth Anniversary of Srinivasa Ramanujan.

Shiv Visvanathan:

"One misses the celebration of science today. Science acquired its creativity through play and it is the playfulness of science that created a Jagadish Chandra Bose, a Raman, a Ramanujan or Chandrasekhar. Science as playfulness has to come back as cultural form to childhood and the universities. Science has to be enjoyable...

...Try an experiment. Make a list of our top scientists and read their speeches. Pick the best and you will see that our scientists have little understanding of the nature of science. Just try it with a sample of speeches from the Indian Science Congress. The illiteracy of our scientists and our politicians about science seems to be co-produced." 

(The Asian Age, January 12 2012)

Evelyn Lamb:

"Ramanujan's discoveries have influenced several areas of mathematics, but he is probably most famous for his contributions to number theory and infinite series, among them fascinating formulas that can be used to calculate digits of pi in unusual ways."

 (Scientific American, December 22 2012)

 त्र्यंबक शंकर शेजवलकर:

"ज्या वर्गांत भास्कराचार्यांसारखा बृहस्पति असतो, त्या वर्गांत दुसर्या कोणा तरी मुलाचा दुसरा नंबर लागतच असतो. पण त्यावरून त्यांस पहिल्या व दुसर्या नंबरचे विद्यार्थी ठरविणें योग्य नाहीं..."

("In a class that has got  Bhāskarāchārya, a Bṛhaspati, guru of the gods, also always has a boy who comes second. But it is misleading to rank them number one and number two students...")

(from: 'Tryambak Shankar Shejwalkar Nivadak Lekh Sangraha', Aggregator-H V Mote, Introduction- G D Khanolkar, 1977)

('त्र्यंबक शंकर शेजवलकर निवडक लेख संग्रह', संग्राहक-ह. वि. मोटे, परिचय-गं. दे. खानोलकर, १९७७)

I quote this because I find it very interesting how Shejwalkar, a historian,  invokes Bhāskarāchārya, a mathematician,  to compare Nanasaheb Peshwa (1721-1761) (नानासाहेब पेशवा)- student claiming to be second in an imaginary class consisting of prominent personalities from Maratha history- to Shivaji (1630-1680) (शिवाजी), who obviously is first by a long shot.

I wonder if people now writing in Marathi invoke personalities like  Bhāskarāchārya or Ramanujan in such an easy manner.

Google Doodle on December 22 2012

Artist: Unknown at the moment

courtesy: Google Inc. 

Look at the kid enjoying drawing a rangoli (or so I imagine) of Pi...he has kept his books aside under a tree...and he will surely go play football- held stylishly under the foot by his friend-  little later...also look at the girl holding a skipping rope...

Science as playfulness has to come back as cultural form to childhood and the universities. Science has to be enjoyable...