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Srinivasa Ramanujan

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Every positive integer is one of Ramanujan's personal friends.
--
John Littlewood, on hearing of the taxicab incident.

 
Srinivasa Ramanujan

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He could remember the idiosyncrasies of numbers in an almost uncanny way. It was Littlewood who said that every positive integer was one of Ramanujan's personal friends. I remember once going to see him when he was ill at Putney. I had ridden in taxi cab number 1729 and remarked that the number seemed to me rather a dull one, and that I hoped it was not an unfavorable omen. "No," he replied, "it is a very interesting number; it is the smallest number expressible as the sum of two cubes in two different ways."

 
G. H. Hardy
 

He could remember the idiosyncrasies of numbers in an almost uncanny way. It was Littlewood who said that every positive integer was one of Ramanujan's personal friends. I remember once going to see him when he was ill at Putney. I had ridden in taxi cab number 1729 and remarked that the number seemed to me rather a dull one, and that I hoped it was not an unfavorable omen. "No," he replied, "it is a very interesting number; it is the smallest number expressible as the sum of two cubes in two different ways."

 
Srinivasa Ramanujan
 

It was Mr. Littlewood (I believe) who remarked that "every positive integer was one of his personal friends."

 
John Edensor Littlewood
 

I read in the proof-sheets of Hardy on Ramanujan: 'As someone said, each of the positive integers was one of his personal friends.' My reaction was, 'I wonder who said that; I wish I had.' In the next proof-sheets I read (what now stands): 'It was Littlewood who said...' (What had happened was that Hardy had received the remark in silence and with a poker face, and I wrote it off as a dud....)

 
John Edensor Littlewood
 

The number of syllables in the English names of finite integers tends to increase as the integers grow larger, and must gradually increase indefinitely, since only a finite number of names can be made with a given finite number of syllables. Hence the names of some integers must consist of at least nineteen syllables, and among these there must be a least. Hence "the least integer not nameable in fewer than nineteen syllables" must denote a definite integer; in fact, it denotes 111, 777. But "the least integer not nameable in fewer than nineteen syllables" is itself a name consisting of eighteen syllables; hence the least integer not nameable in fewer than nineteen syllables can be named in eighteen syllables, which is a contradiction. This contradiction was suggested to us by Mr. G. G. Berry of the Bodleian Library.

 
Bertrand Russell
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