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Shakuntala Devi
Please vote to return to collections (Voting Results will appear on Right Sidebar).
    (November 4, 1929-April 21, 2013)
    Born in Bangalore, India
    Mental calculator
    Known as 'the Human Computer'
    Recognized in the 1982 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records after mulitplying two 13-digit numbers in 28 seconds
    Wrote 'Figuring: The Joy of Numbers' (1977), 'Mathability: Awaken the Math Genius in Your Child' (2005), 'In the Wonderland of Numbers' (2006) and 'Super Memory: It Can Be Yours' (2011)
    She was a child prodigy.
    In intelligence tests, her reaction times on non-math cognitive items were average at best.
    During her second tour of the US, she forgot that she had been in the country before.
    She was an astrologer.
    She makes you feel like even more of an idiot than usual for needing a calculator to add three numbers together.
    She developed her calculating abilities despite receiving almost no formal schooling.
    Her father recognized her abilities when she consistently beat him at cards at age three and he realized that she was able to memorize the deck.
    She became the main breadwinner of the family by giving public demonstrations of her talents and noted, 'The responsibility was a huge one for a young child.'
    In one demonstration, she extracted the 23rd root of a 201-digit number in 50 seconds, beating a then top of the line Univac computer by 12 seconds (1977).
    Arthur Jensen, who studied her abilities at Stanford, commented, 'Devi solved most of the problems faster than I was able to copy them in my notebook.'
    Jensen noted that unlike many math prodigies, 'Devi comes across as alert, extroverted, affable and articulate.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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