Shakuntala Devi


According to the Hindustani Times and The Hindu, Shakuntala Devi, a woman known as the ‘Human computer’ for her ability to perform lightning fast calculations, passed away Sunday morning in Bangalore at age 80.  The picture is from the Hindu article, which says she had no formal education, but that she

 strove to simplify math for students and help them get over their math phobia.

The Hindustani Times article says,

Hailing from a humble family, Shakuntala Devi’s father was a circus performer. It was at the age of three while she was playing cards with her father that he found his daughter’s calculation abilities. She had beaten him not by sleight of hand, but by memorising the cards. Meanwhile, at the age of six, she demonstrated her calculation skills in her first major public performance at the University of Mysore and two years later, she again proved herself successful as a child prodigy at Annamalai University.

In 1977, Devi extracted the 23rd root of a 201-digit number mentally. In 1980, she gave the answer to a multiplication problem of two 13-digit numbers picked at random by the Computer Department of Imperial College, London, in 28 seconds.

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