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David Leavitt: The Indian Clerk

David Leavitt: The Indian Clerk

UK 2008, 488 pp., brochure,  29.95
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On a January morning in 1913, G.H. Hardy - eccentric, charismatic and, at 37, already considered the greatest British mathematician of his age - receives a mysterious envelope covered with Indian stamps. Inside he finds a rambling letter from a self-professed mathematical genius who claims to be on the brink of solving the most important unsolved mathematical problem of the time. Some of Hardy's Cambridge colleagues dismiss the letter as a hoax, but Hardy himself becomes convinced that the Indian clerk who has written it - Srinivasa Ramanujan - deserves to be taken seriously. Aided by his collaborator, Littlewood, and a young don named Neville who is about to depart for Madras with his wife, he determines to learn more about the mysterious Indian and, if possible, persuade him to come to Cambridge. A decision of many consequences - as will show.
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