Meet: Shakuntala Devi - The Human Calculator

Shakuntala Devi (November 4, 1929 – April 21, 2013) was an Indian writer and mental calculator, popularly known as the "human computer".A child prodigy, her talents eventually earned her a place in the 1982 edition of The Guinness Book of World Records. As a writer, Devi wrote a number of books, including novels and non-fiction texts about mathematics, puzzles, and astrology. She also wrote what is considered the first study of homosexuality in India; it treated homosexuality in an understanding light and is considered pioneering.

On november 4th 2013, Google paid tribute through its doodle to Shakuntala Devi on her  84th birth anniversary with a calculator font and her picture.

Popularly known as the Human Computer for her awesome ability to mentally solve complex mathematical problems, Shakuntala Devi was included in The Guinness Book of World Records in 1982.



Without any formal education as a child, Shakuntala Devi had the ability to memorise and calculate numbers mentally an ability her circus artist father discovered when she was just three.

A prolific author as well, she wrote books like Fun with Numbers, Astrology for You, Puzzles to Puzzle You, and Mathablit.


In 1977 in USA, Shakuntala Devi competed with a computer to see who gives the cube root of 188132517 faster, she won.


On June 18, 1980, the Human computer, Shakuntala Devi demonstrated the multiplication of two 13-digit numbers 7,686,369,774,870 × 2,465,099,745,779 picked at random by the Computer Department of Imperial College, London. She answered 18,947,668,177,995,426,462,773,730 in 28 seconds which is correct. This event is mentioned in the Guinness Book of Records.

With the ability to calculate the cube root of 61,629,875, and the seventh root of 170,859,375 without writing it down or using a calculator, Shakuntala Devi's abilities were studied by Arthur Jensen, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley in 1988.

Jensen wrote in his report that the calculation was done and answers given even before he wrote the answer in his notebook. The findings were published in the academic journal Intelligence in 1990.

In April 2013, Shakuntala Devi passed away in a hospital in Bangalore from complications of the heart and kidneys at the age of 83.
Meet: Shakuntala Devi - The Human Calculator Reviewed by The Riddler on 7:10:00 PM Rating: 5

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