G.H. Hardy

On this date in 1877, Godfrey Harold Hardy was born in Surrey, England. Hardy’s parents were teachers and he showed mathematical ability very early on in life. He attended Winchester College, a traditional British boarding school, for secondary education, where he was awarded a scholarship for mathematics. He entered Trinity College-Cambridge in 1896, where he studied mathematics. Continuing at Cambridge and independently studying mathematics, he earned his M.A. in 1903. He worked as a lecturer at Cambridge from 1909-19, when he left for Oxford, where he took the Savilian Chair of Geometry.

In 1931 he became Sadlerian Professor at Cambridge, a position he held until 1941. Hardy never married and had no known romantic attachments. He described his mentorship of the young Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan as “the one romantic incident of my life.” His sister cared for him in his old age. Jeremy Irons portrayed Hardy in the 2015 film “The Man Who Knew Infinity,” based on the biography of Ramanujan

Hardy helped to bring a new tradition of pure mathematics to England, which had remained largely applied since the time of Sir Isaac Newton. He worked to bring pure mathematical rigor and proofs to Cambridge, helping to reform the old curriculum which featured many practical problems in hydrodynamics. Although Hardy’s work at the time was purely theoretical, it has since been used to solve many practical problems. Many of his contributions were in the field of mathematical analysis and analytic number theory.

Hardy was a lifelong atheist, refusing to enter a chapel even for funerals or for elections of college officials. D. 1947.

Freedom From Religion Foundation