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Shakuntala Devi

The Human Computer

By Allwyn Roman WaghelaPublished 17 days ago 3 min read
“Without mathematics, there’s nothing you can do. Everything around you is mathematics. Everything around you is numbers.” 🌟

Shakuntala Devi, born on November 4, 1929, in Bangalore, Karnataka, India, was an extraordinary individual known as the “Human Computer.” Her remarkable talent for mental calculations earned her a place in the 1982 edition of The Guinness Book of World Records.

Let me share some fascinating details about her:

Mental Calculator:

  • Shakuntala Devi demonstrated her exceptional abilities in arithmetic mathematics from a very young age. She could perform complex calculations mentally without any formal education.
  • Her most famous feat occurred on June 18, 1980, at Imperial College, London. The Computer Department randomly selected two 13-digit numbers: 7,686,369,774,870 and 2,465,099,745,779. In just 28 seconds, she correctly multiplied these numbers, arriving at the astonishing answer of 18,947,668,177,995,426,462,773,73023
  • This achievement remains one of the fastest human computations ever recorded.

World Record and Recognition:

  • Although she achieved this world record in 1980, the certificate was awarded posthumously on July 30, 2020.
  • Shakuntala Devi’s abilities were studied by Arthur Jensen, a professor of educational psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. He tested her performance on various tasks, including calculating large numbers. She astounded him by providing solutions before he could even write them down.

Author and Pioneer:

  • Beyond her mathematical prowess, Shakuntala Devi was a prolific writer. She authored several books, including novels, texts on mathematics, puzzles, and astrology.
  • Notably, she wrote “The World of Homosexuals,” which is considered the first study of homosexuality in India. She viewed homosexuality positively and is regarded as a pioneer in this field.

Early Life:

  • Born into a Kannada Brahmin family, Shakuntala Devi’s father discovered her ability to memorise numbers when teaching her a card trick at the age of three.
  • Her father left the circus where he worked as a trapeze artist, lion tamer, tightrope walker, and magician, taking her on road shows to showcase her remarkable calculation skills.
  • By the age of six, she was demonstrating her arithmetic abilities at the University of Mysore.

Global Tours:

  • Shakuntala Devi traveled extensively, showcasing her talents in countries around the world.
  • In 1977, at Southern Methodist University, she even calculated the 23rd root of a 201-digit number in just 50 seconds.

A fascinating biopic on Shakuntala Devi

Shakuntala Devi is a fascinating biographical drama film that traces the extraordinary life of the renowned mathematician and mental calculator, also known as the “Human Computer.” Here are the key details about the movie:

Title: Shakuntala Devi

Release Date: July 31, 2020

Language: Hindi

Plot Summary:

  • The film begins in 2001, where Anupama Banerjee (played by Sanya Malhotra) arrives in London, England with her husband, Ajay Abhay Kumar (played by Amit Sadh).
  • Anupama reveals that she is filing a criminal case against her mother, Shakuntala Devi (played by Vidya Balan).
  • The story then takes us back to Shakuntala Devi’s childhood in Bangalore during the 1930s. Her family discovers her incredible talent for quickly solving complex mathematical problems in her head.
  • Shakuntala’s father, Bishaw, decides to showcase her abilities through “math shows,” where she entertains people with her problem-solving prowess.
  • As she grows up, Shakuntala continues to perform math shows and earn for her family. However, she blames her father for not allowing her to have a normal childhood.
  • In 1954, she leaves for London after a violent altercation with her boyfriend, Dhiraj, who had been pretending to love her while having a pre-arranged marriage.
  • In London, Shakuntala struggles to find opportunities for her shows but eventually impresses a Spanish mathematician named Javier.
  • The film beautifully captures both Shakuntala Devi’s genius as a mathematician and her human side as a woman and mother.
  • Cast:

Vidya Balan as Shakuntala Devi

Sanya Malhotra as Anupama Banerjee

Amit Sadh as Ajay Abhay Kumar

Jisshu Sengupta in a supporting role

Child artist Spandan Chaturvedi makes a cameo appearance as young Shakuntala.

Streaming Platform:

The film was directly streamed on Amazon Prime Video on July 31, 2020.

Her legacy as the “Human Computer” continues to inspire and amaze people worldwide. 🌟🧮🌐


About the Creator

Allwyn Roman Waghela

I am a professional blogger, writing about topics such as travel, food, and lifestyle thus, showcasing my creativity and communication skills.





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Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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