Celebrating math, miracles and a movie

By Carol Clark | eScienceCommons | April 7, 2016

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The Carter Center hosted an advance screening of "The Man Who Knew Infinity." The gala celebrated the efforts of (from left): Samuel Pressman, of Pressman Films, the film's producer; Emory mathematician Ken Ono, an associate producer and math consultant for the film; Matthew Brown, the writer and director; and Devika Bhise, who portrays the mathematician Ramanujan’s wife, Janaki. Photo by Becky Stein

“This is truly a joyful evening for me,” said Robin Forman, dean of Emory College of Arts and Sciences, at a special advance screening for Emory alumni of the film “The Man Who Knew Infinity.”

“First of all, I’m a mathematician,” Forman said, “and like every other mathematician, I’ve been waiting for this film to come out ever since I heard about it.”

The movie appeals, however, to a much broader audience. Hundreds of Emory alumni turned out for the private screening, held recently at the Carter Center. The evening was a chance to celebrate Emory’s connection to the film – Ken Ono, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Math, served as an associate producer and the math consultant. The evening also celebrated how “miracles” of endurance, chance and unexpected human connections can overcome great odds to transform the world.

“The Man Who Knew Infinity,” to be released nationwide April 29, tells the true story of how a largely self-educated Indian named Srinivasa Ramanujan wrote to Cambridge mathematician G.H. Hardy in 1913, sparking an unlikely collaboration. The film stars Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons as Ramanujan and Hardy, whose “math bromance” spanned cultures and hierarchies to change math and science forever.

“What if Ramanujan had not reached out to Hardy?” Ono said in remarks before the screening. “The story of Ramanujan matters because science matters and imagination matters.”

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