Xll B. C. BERND T After being supported for about fifteen months, for reasons that are unclear, Ramanujan refused further financial assistance and be- came a clerk in the Madras Port Trust Office. This turned out to be a watershed in Ramanujan's career. Several people, including S. Narayana Iyer, the Chief Accountant, and Sir Francis Spring, the Chairman, offered support, and Ramanujan was persuaded to write English mathematicians about his mathematical discoveries. Two of them, H. F. Baker and E. W. Hobson, evidently did not reply. M. J. M. Hill replied but was not encouraging. But on January 16, 1913, Ramanujan wrote G. EL Hardy, who responded immediately and encouragingly, inviting Ramanujan to come to Cambridge to develop his mathematical gifts. Ramanujan and his family were Iyengars, a conservative branch in the Brahmin tradition. Travelling to a dis- tant land would make a person unclean, and so Ramanujan's mother was particularly adamant about her son's not accepting Hardy's in- vitation. After a pilgrimage to Namakal with S. N. Iyer and after Goddess Namagiri appeared in a dream to Komalatammal, Ramanu- jan received permission to travel. So on March 17, 1914, Ramanujan boarded a passenger ship for England. At about this time, Ramanujan evidently stopped recording his theorems in notebooks, although a few entries in his third notebook were undoubtedly recorded in England. That Ramanujan no longer concentrated on logging entries in his notebooks is evident from two letters that he wrote to friends in Madras during his first year in England. In a letter of November 13, 1914 to his friend R. Krishna Rao [51, pp. 112-113], Ramanujan confided, "I have changed my plan of publishing my results. I am not going to publish any of the old results in my notebooks till the war is over." And in a letter of January 7, 1915 to S. M. Subramanian [51, pp. 123-125], Ramanujan admitted, "I am doing my work very slowly. My notebook is sleeping in a corner for these four or five months. I am publishing only my present researches as I have not yet proved the results in my notebooks rigorously." Ramanujan soon became famous for the papers he published in England, some of them coauthored with Hardy. One of his most im- portant papers is [186], [192, pp. 136-162], in which he introduced
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