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Shakuntala Devi - Contribution of Shakuntala Devi in Mathematics

Shakuntala Devi - Contribution of Shakuntala Devi in Mathematics
LifeThelife3 min read
An upcoming biographical movie to be released on May 8, 2020 made by Anu Menon entitled ‘Shakuntala Devi’ has triggered the interests of people in this gifted personality who has been credited with the title ‘human computer’. A genius who could impress people right from the age of three is also a multi-faceted personality good at motivational speeches and authoring books of different genres. A writer and mathematician bundled in one, Shakuntala Devi’s life and accomplishments have inspired millions around the world. Here are a few interesting facts about Shakuntala Devi that will feed your curiosity to know her.

Birth and early life of Shakuntala Devi

She was born in a Hindu Brahmin family in Bangalore on November 4, 1929. When she was just three years old, her father discovered that she had an amazing ability to memorize numbers. He quit the circus company where he was working and gave road shows projecting the talent of his daughter in calculating. Right at the age of six, Shakuntala Devi proved her arithmetic capabilities in the University of Mysore. She moved to London with her father in 1944.

Her mathematical talents recognized

As early as five years of her age, the world could realize that she was a child prodigy. She was found to be an expert in highly complex mental arithmetic. Her passion to expand the human capacity made her develop the concept known as ‘Mind Dynamics’.

A place in the Guinness Book of World Records

Her talents earned her a place in the Guinness Book of World Records in the year 1982. She was praised as the authentic heroine of her times and she could command the headlines in newspapers and magazines. It was said she could outperformed the fastest computers of her times.

The most unique book she authored

She had a soft heart towards homosexuals. She treated homosexuality in a positive vein and wrote a book titled The World of Homosexuals, which is the first ever book on homosexuality in India. She argued that all people exhibit different sexual tendencies and orientations at different times and there is nothing called homosexuality or hetero sexuality in the world. She has also authored a number of books on astrology and cooking.

She never liked the title ‘Human Computer’

In acknowledgement of her talents, she was heralded as ‘Human Computer’ after she projected her talents in the BBC channel hosted by Leslie Mitchell on October 5, 1950. However, she never liked this title. She said, human mind has incomparably much capabilities than the computer and it is not appropriate to compare human mind with computers.

Shakuntala Devi Number

Shakuntala Devi attained universal fame when she demonstrated her ability to multiply two random numbers of 13 digits. She could mentally multiple 7,686,369,774,870 × 2,465,099,745,779 on 18 June 1980 and gave the correct answer as 18,947,668,177,995,426,462,773,730 within just 28 seconds.

Shakuntala Devi death reason

Notably, the first woman mathematician in India, Shakuntala Devi died in Bangalore on 21 April 2013 at the age of 83 due to cardiac and respiratory problems.