Shakuntala Devi (4 November 1929 – 21 April 2013) was an Indian writer and mental calculator, popularly known as the “human computer“.

Biography

Shakuntala Devi (4 November 1929 – 21 April 2013) was an Indian writer and mental calculator, popularly known as the “human computer“.

Her talent earned her a place in the 1982 edition of The Guinness Book of World Records. Born to Kannadiga’s parents, Devi was a precocious child and she demonstrated her arithmetic abilities at the University of Mysore without any formal education.

Shakuntala Devi wrote a number of books in her later years, including novels as well as texts about mathematics, puzzles, and astrology.

Since 2007, the English Wikipedia page of Shakuntala Devi has received more than 1,684,000 page views. Her biography is available in 30 different languages on Wikipedia making her the 3,692nd most popular writer.

Shakuntala Devi Movie, Cast, Crew, Release Date, Reviews and More

Early Years

  • Shakuntala Devi was born on November 4, 1929 in Bengaluru to an orthodox, Brahmin Kannadiga family.

Shakuntala Devi Father

  • Shakuntala Devi father was a traveling magician who had rebelled against his traditional family to pursue this unconventional profession instead of becoming a priest as his forefathers had been.
  • Shakuntala Devi father wanted to entertain others as a tight-rope walker. He thus became a circus artist and 3-year-old Shakuntala used to accompany him to the circus and often come back mesmerized with her father’s performances.
  • It was he who eventually introduced her to the world of mathematics and taught her interesting card tricks that initiated her love for numbers. News of her ability to solve difficult mathematical problems soon spread like wildfire and she enthralled audiences with her wit and card-tricks, while her father entertained them with rope-walking.
  • By the age of 6, she had her first major show at the University of Mysore where she displayed her mathematical prowess by solving arithmetical problems, mental maths questions and finding out complex square roots and cube roots within a few seconds.
  • After a few more similar performances in a number of other institutes, she found success at Annamalai University at the age of 8, when she was finally acknowledged as a ‘child prodigy’.

Major Works

  • Shakuntala Devi is best remembered for demonstrating the multiplication of two randomly picked 13-digit numbers—7,686,369,774,870 × 2,465,099,745,779 on 18 June 1980. She correctly gave the answer as 18,947,668,177,995,426,462,773,730 in 28 seconds. This unbelievable feat of hers earned her a place in the ‘Guinness Book of Records’ in 1982.

 

Shakuntala Devi Unknown facts

  • She made complex mathematical calculations and was an eminent name in the country.
  • Shakuntala Devi’s dazzling computational powers revealed themselves in early childhood but she had no formal education.
  • Among her adult feats, she was able to multiply two random 13-digit numbers in a few seconds.
  • She once calculated the 23rd root of a 201 digit number mentally in under a minute.
  • When given date in the last century she could instantly calculate which day it fell on.
  • She was featured by Guinness World Records for this facility with numbers.
  • “God’s gift. A divine quality,” said Ms. Devi once when she was asked about her ability.
  • She also said nobody in her family had shown a head for numbers.
  • “Not even remotely, although my father was a stage magician,” she said.
  • According to reports, he discovered his three-year-old daughter’s abilities with numbers when playing cards with her.
  • He apparently found that she beat him not by sleight of hand, but by memorizing the cards.
  • DC Shivdev of an education trust run in her name said Shakuntala Devi “strove to simplify math for students and help them get over their math phobia”.
  • He said her “techniques to simplify math were not used by educational institutions”.
  • “It is a pity that her techniques died with her,” he told The Hindu newspaper.
  • Devi wrote a number of books with titles like Fun with Numbers and Puzzles to Puzzle You.
  • She also had an alternative career as a successful astrologer, and she often toured to give lectures and offered astrology consultations.

 

Shakuntala Devi awards & achievements

  • In 1969 Shakuntala Devi received the award the title of the ‘Most Distinguished Woman of the Year’ by the University of Philippines.
  • Ramanujan award: Shakuntala Devi received the ‘Ramanujan Mathematical Genius’ Award in Washington D.C in 1988.
  • On 4 November 2013, she was honored with a Google Doodle on what would have been her 84th birthday.

Shakuntala Devi Husband

  • Shakuntala Devi married Paritosh Banerji.
  • Her husband was an officer of the Indian Administrative Service from Kolkata in the mid-1960s. The couple got divorced in 1979.

Shakuntala Devi Daughter

  • Shakuntala Devi and her husband have a daughter named Anupama Banerjee.
  • Anupama Banerji lives in London & was even there on the sets during the London shoot. According to reports, she got emotional during the shooting of her mother’s biopic and also raised Vidya Balan’s representation of her. She also said that Vidya’s “effortless” performance made her remorseful.

 

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