Remembering SHAKUNTALA DEVI – The Human Computer
CHILD PRODIGY and MATH GENIUS
Shakuntala Devi was born in Bengaluru, Karnataka State of India on November 4, 1929.
At age 3, it was while playing cards with her father, that he discovered her uncanny ability to memorize numbers.
She dropped out of school because her father, a circus worker, could not afford the monthly school fee of Rs 2.
Shakuntala Devi began demonstrating her math skills at the circus where her father worked as a performer and later in roadshows arranged by him after he quit the circus.
At age 6, she gave her first major show at the University of Mysore.
She became world-famous and she traveled the world, displaying her ability to perform complex calculations in her head, despite having no formal education.
During an event at the University of Rome, the judges declared her answer to a problem as wrong, until the experts re-examined their own calculations and found her to be wright.
FASTER THAN A COMPUTER
At an event in 1977, she extracted the 23rd root of a 201-digit number in just 50 seconds beating a Univac computer, which took 62 seconds.
She could mentally calculate the cube root of numbers as big as 204,336,469 in 5 seconds and give any date in the last century, she could ascertain the day on which it fell.
GUINNESS RECORD HOLDER
In 1980, she correctly multiplied two 13-digit numbers, given to her randomly by the computer department at the Imperial College in London, in only 28 seconds, earning her a place in 1982 Guinness Book World Records.
Shakuntala Devi’s record included the time it took her to recite the 26-digit solution.
AUTHOR AND MORE
She has written several books on math puzzles like ‘Puzzle to Puzzle You’ and also a book titled ‘The World of Homosexuals.” a compilation of her conducted interviews and research on homosexuality.
She was also a successful astrologer and cookbook author.
A LIFE LONG MATH LOVER
On April 21, 2013, at the age of 83, she passed away due to cardiac and respiratory problems.
She had once said
“Mathematics is life, you have math in everything, right from time to your date of birth to the food you eat and the air you breathe.”
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