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Shakuntala Devi’s Mind And Life Were Extraordinary… Read All About Her!

Hey students,

Raise your hands if you love mathematics and dream to be a maths whizz. Let’s introduce you to a wonderful mathematician who has left a mark in the world.

Have You Met Shakuntala Devi?

  • Shakuntala Devi was born on November 04 1929.
  • Her father worked in a circus to make ends meet.
  • Her father discovered her talent when she was just three years old while he was using cards for his magic tricks.
  • She was a child prodigy in mathematics. She could do complex calculations without any technological device.
  • On discovering her talent, he quit the circus to nurture her talent. He started conducting roadshows to showcase her talent.
  • Due to her financial situation, she was unable to receive any formal education. When Shakuntala performed in front of the crowd as a child, she mesmerized the audience.
  • Through word of mouth she got famous and at the age of 6, she performed at the University of Mysore.
  • Her grip of mental mathematics astonished the onlooker.
  • In 1977, she calculated the 23rd square root of 201 digit number in 50 seconds. She even calculates cube roots through mental mathematics.
  • In 1980, she multiplied 13 digits numbers (7,686,369,774,870 x 2,465,099,745,779) in 28 seconds, and this earned her a space in ‘The Guinness Book of World Records’ in 1982.
  • She got the title ‘Human Computer’ when computers were not known to Indians. She often beat computers in calculations.
  • To celebrate Shakuntala Devi and her contribution, a biopic starring Vidya Balan was released.
  • Sakuntala Devi lived her life to the fullest. She was known for her epic sense of humour, fierce independence and the fact that she was way ahead of her time.
  • She was social, loved meeting people, was always invited to various gatherings, and she loved to cook.
  • Shakuntala Devi published books such as ‘Tradition and Modernity Among Indian Woman’ and ‘Awaken The Genius In Your Child’.
  • In her book ‘Figuring: The Joy of Mathematics’, she described methods for mental calculations.
  • In a documentary titled ‘For Straights Only’, Shakuntala revealed that she was married to a man who had a different orientation and this shifted her interest to this topic to understand it more closely. 
  • She strongly supported the LGBTQ movement and even wrote a book on it in early times.
  • She was rushed to the hospital in April 2013, after she complained about respiratory problems. She suffered from heart and kidney complications and breathed her last on April 21 2013.
  • On November 04 2013, Google honoured Shakuntala Devi in Doodle with an animated calculator on its homepage, which would have been her 84th birthday.

Shakuntala Devi Is Widely Known For Her Math Skills And Math Tricks.

  1. Cube Roots: Shakuntala Devi could extract cube roots of large numbers through mental mathematics. She mentally calculated the cube roots of 95,443,993 in 2 seconds. The psychologist, Arthur Jensen at the University of California-Berkeley, researched to study Shakuntala Devi’s abilities.
  2. Higher Roots: When the number 46,295 multiplied by itself seven times, the answer is 455,762,531,836,562,695,930,666,032,734,375. Shakuntala Devi calculated the 7th root of this number in 40 seconds.
  3. Long Multiplications: She got into the Guinness Book of Records in 1982 due to this skill.
  4. Calendar Calculations: She could immediately say which day of the week any particular date was on. If the date was stated in the order month, date, year, her average response time was 1 second, while if the order was the year, month, date, her answer was instantaneous.

Despite all the research, Arthur Jensen could not figure out the secret of her skills. He mentioned it was her “rather unexceptional reaction times” in elementary cognitive tasks that stood out. Unlike most people, Shakuntala Devi perceived large number somewhat differently.

Try Out These Mathematical Multiplication Rhymes And Let Us Know Your Experience!

  • 2: Two shoes kicked the floor, 2 x 2 = 4
  • 3: 3 times a day my bird eats six beans, 3 x 6 = 18
  • 4: A 4 by 4 is a mean machine, I’m going to get one when I’m 16
  • 5: Two fives jump off the high dive, 5 x 5 = 25
  • 6: 6 x 6, magic tricks, abracadabra 36
  • 7: 7 x 7 has four straight lines, which will = 49
  • 8: I ate (8) and ate (8) and got sick on the floor, 8 x 8 = 64
  • 9: He stood in line and ate a ton, 9 x 9 = 81

If you have some mathematics tips and tricks to learn maths, you can share it with Just Learning through a video. Please write to us. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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