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Extended Audio Sample The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius Ramanujan, by Robert Kanigel Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (1,103 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Robert Kanigel Narrator: Humphrey Bower Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In 1913, a young, unschooled Indian clerk named Srinivasa Ramanujan wrote a letter to G. H. Hardy, begging that pre-eminent English mathematician’s opinion on several ideas he had about numbers. Hardy, realizing the letter was the work of a genius, arranged for Ramanujan to come to England. Thus began one of the most remarkable collaborations ever chronicled.

With a passion for rich and evocative detail, Robert Kanigel takes us from the temples and teeming slums of Madras to the courts and chapels of Cambridge University, where the devout Hindu Ramanujan, “the Prince of Intuition,” tested his brilliant theories alongside the sophisticated and eccentric Hardy, “the Apostle of Proof.” In time, Ramanujan’s creative intensity took its toll: he died at the age of thirty-two, but left behind a magical and inspired legacy that today is still being plumbed for its secrets.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “One of the most romantic stories in the history of mathematics…superbly evocative…thoroughly captivating.”

    New York Times

  • “A masterpiece.”

    Washington Post Book World

  • “Ramanujan’s tale is the stuff of fable…an exquisite portrait…a compelling read.”

    Los Angeles Times Book Review

  • “A brilliant study of one of the most remarkable and enigmatic minds of the century.”

    News and Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina)

  • “[A] moving and astonishing biography [and an] improbable story…Kanigel gives nontechnical readers the flavor of how Ramanujan arrived at his mathematical ideas, which are used today in cosmology and computer science.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Arithmetic equations in an audiobook? In Humphrey Bower’s eloquent reading…spoken numbers manage not to confuse…Bower reads with interest and command. He paces the math discussions to interest all listeners, and his command of British and Indian intonations adds color to the dialogue and quotations. Introduced with atmospheric music, this is a classy production.”


  • “This extremely well-researched and well-written biography is a ‘must’ addition to any library collection.”

    Library Journal

  • “[A] brilliantly realized biography...Kanigel’s particular interest in how primitive superstition, India’s bureaucratic mind-set, English spiritual asceticism, and a Western war combined to destroy the miracle of Ramanujan’s genius adds deeper dimensions to the already fascinating story of a difficult but astoundingly fruitful cross-cultural collaboration.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A 1991 New York Times Notable Book for Nonfiction
  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A 1991 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee
  • A 1992 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist for Biography/Autobiography

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Elaine | 2/17/2014

    " There have been other books on Ramanujan that are romanticized. This book is journalistic (hence, a bit dry) and attempts to stick with the facts. One learns a lot about the life and times of Ramanujan in Southern India, G.H. Hardy, Trinity College Cambridge, and the extraordinary events that brought Ramanujan's mathematics to light. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Jason | 2/15/2014

    " A really fantastic book. I appreciated a biography that had a lot of equations. But even without the equations not only was Ramanujan a wonderfully drawn portrait but it also really conveyed collaboration and the very interesting story of Hardy as well. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Kirty Vedula | 2/6/2014

    " A warm account of the genius Ramanujan's love for the mathematics written with minute details. Must-read for every Indian! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Nats | 1/30/2014

    " The best biography I have read so far. Steve Jobs comes close too. While the story of this genius is widely known the author must be commended for provinding a fascinating account of the life in South India during the british rule. He has provided an indepth psycho analysis of Ramanujan and even Hardy. The incidents relating to ramanujan running away at the slightest affront were very revealing. A true genius whose life was tragically too short but whose fame will last forever. "

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