Vinith Bhandari (Srinivasa Ramanujan), Cian Morey (G. H. Hardy), Isaac Allen (Alfred Billington), Renuka Chintapalli (Goddess Namagiri), Charli Foreman (Pierre de Fermat)Photo/ Rebecca Tyson

My darling wife,

I hope you and Amma are doing well. I am staying warm and healthy. I am eating well and keeping my room clean. Our goddess Namagiri is always in my prayers. Hardy has trusted me with a new puzzle. It is the pursuit of the Holy Grail - Fermat’s last theorem. It has rekindled my faith. It is as though God has commanded that I solve it. I feel that it is my destiny to do so. Fermat’s last theorem is fascinating, and although it is much more difficult than I first anticipated, the prospect of finally solving it makes me very happy. This might be what gives me a good name in this world. I can’t wait to reach the end and tell Hardy. He will be so proud to find that I have finally mastered proofs.

“Hardy is still a mystery to me”

The help of our goddess Namagiri has been particularly useful, although I wish I knew more about Her sources. I believe Her intentions are always good but I can’t understand Her absence at times. I know She will come back bearing new equations, and yet I grow impatient. I know I should be more thankful. She gives me mathematics and takes care of you and Amma while I am here. I am grateful to Her for everything. May She keep blessing me and helping me in my pursuit of the proof.

I do feel lonely at times. Your company always comforted me when mathematics proved to be difficult. Hardy’s friend Billington keeps me company. He insists I call him Alfred now, which is most unusual! He is delightful and always knows what to say. I have learned a lot from him. Now the world around me feels warmer despite the cold chills in Cambridge. Hardy on the other hand is still a mystery to me. He is caring and has been very nice to me, but I just wish we were closer on a human level. Perhaps if he spoke more freely, we could be.

I miss Madras, I miss Amma and her cooking. It is hard for me to develop a taste for English food. I always feel that I am committing a sin even if the food is free of animal products. I miss you, too. I hope you are not feeling alone. Once the war is over, I will send word for you to come here. It has been a long time since I have heard from you: please write back if you can. For now, I resume my work on Fermat’s extraordinary riddle.

All my love,



Diary of G.H. Hardy

Trinity, Cambridge

Rose early to work on some of Ramanujan’s ideas about Fermat’s Last Theorem, theoretically from 8-12 but in reality from 8-2. Perhaps my 4-hour limit is not a match for Ramanujan - it felt distinctly like less. Fascinating mathematics. He seems to be making substantial progress but I must remember not to tell him yet. He would become excited, and then I would become excited, and then tempus fugit, as Billington says, and nothing would be done. Ramanujan’s approaches are ingenious but his clarity is still lacking. He must first learn the mathematical processes for himself.

“Ramanujan has an effect. He makes one see things differently”

Went to Fenner’s, 2-3. Weather terrible. Excellent and precise game of cricket. Batting was balletic. Note to self - must ask Billington how he would make up a team from famous composers.

Worked with Ramanujan from 3-5. His thoughts on Fermat advance rapidly, but his understanding of proof advances more gradually. However, he cares enough to try harder. I can see it in how he speaks of numbers, their special properties or personalities, as though each were a unique little artwork. It’s there in the way he takes up a new mathematical book, like it is a sacred artefact of his faith - indeed, remembering what he has told me, I should say it matters more to him than his faith. Ramanujan has an effect. He makes one see things differently. He leaves one striving to discover new ideas, or discover old ones afresh. Or, more accurately, to be there when he does so, and watch as it happens. Whatever “it” is.


Mountain View

Public enemy number one: Previewing An Enemy of the People

Heard that the Trinity Dean tripped on his way to Chapel lectern. God 0, Hardy 1.

War ongoing. The large-bottomed at College still remain all for it. Rather a relief to correspond with Bertrand Russell, who remains all against it. It is never worth a first-class man’s time to express a majority opinion. Still, I have been able to do less and less for him since Trinity dismissed him - would that it were more. Trinity is not what it was.

Tea with Billington. He understands. I think.

Partition will play at 7:00pm from Tuesday 1st February until Saturday 5th February at the Corpus Playroom.