Throughout the history of mathematics, there has been no one remotely like Srinivasa Ramanujan. Although only 36 when he received Ramanujan’s letter, Hardy was already the leading mathematician in England. Hardy was not the first mathematician to whom Ramanujan had sent his results, however the first two to whom he had written judged him to be a crank. So Hardy sent an encouraging reply to Ramanujan, which led to a frequent exchange of letters.
Neville’s wrote in a letter to the university that “The discovery of the genius of S. Ramanujan of Madras promises to be the most interesting event of our time in the mathematical world”.
The last thing Hardy wanted was to dent Ramanujan’s fearless approach to the most difficult problems.
His like may never be seen again, and certainly such a partnership as that which Hardy and Ramanujan built will not either.