I read a great article in a recent issue of Scientific American: A math genius like no other which, by way of reviewing the recently released film: The Man Who Knew Infinity also shares insights into the life and character of the amazing self-taught Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan.
A paragraph toward the end of the article caught my eye though, as the questions posed by Emory University’s Professor Ken Ono resonate strongly with those of us working in education:
The Man Who Knew Infinity also forces us to reflect on the current state of education in the world, says Ono. “Ramanujan flunked out of college twice. (‘It is the worst instance that I know of the damage that can be done by an inelastic educational system,’ commented Hardy.) Today’s educators are flooded with a depressing litany of complaints–disaffected students, teacher burn-out, overtesting, failure to keep up with technology, inadequate and unequal funding, and lack of relevancy, to name a few. How would we recognize and nurture an outlier like Ramanujan today? This is the question that demands attention.”
Indeed – the questions raised are well worth discussion. How many schools stop to consider such important issues though? I fear those reading my thoughts are also shaking their heads – which if true – is a sad state of affairs.
Knowing little about Srinivasa Ramanujan before reading this article, I was keen to see the movie. The performance by Dev Patel & Jeremy Irons is breathtaking. The story told is deeply moving.
Watch the trailer and be inspired.
Go see it!