{Replying to G. H. Hardy's suggestion that the number of a taxi (1729) was 'dull', showing off his spontaneous mathematical genius} No, it is a very interesting number; it is the smallest number expressible as a sum of two cubes in two different ways, the two ways being 13 + 123 and 93 + 103.

Plenty of mathematicians, Hardy knew, could follow a step-by-step discursus unflagginglyâ€”yet counted for nothing beside Ramanujan. Years later, he would contrive an informal scale of natural mathematical ability on which he assigned himself a 25 and Littlewood a 30. To David Hilbert, the most eminent mathematician of the day, he assigned an 80. To Ramanujan he gave 100.