Jacques Inaudi (1867-1950) is one of the most gifted mental calculators of all time. He was an Italian calculating child prodigy. Admired for his great speed and accuracy while solving complex arithmetical calculations, Inaudi became object of studies by the French physician, Paul Broca in 1880 and neurobiologists, Jean-Martin Charcot and Alfred Binet in 1892. In all arithmetical prodigies, memory for digits develops abnormally compared with other memories. Inaudi was an auditory memory-based mental calculator. When memorizing numbers, he did not rely on the appearance of the items or create visual imagery of any kind. Instead, he remembered digits principally by their sounds. Inaudi’s methods of calculation and memorization were original and different from a typical visual memory–based mental calculator.
Born in 1867 to a poor family in the Italian Piedmont, Jacques Inaudi began life as a shepherd. Still, he soon discovered a prodigious talent for calculation, and soon he was giving exhibitions in large cities.
The subtraction of numbers consisting of twenty-four figures is an easy matter for him. He used to solve problems without logarithm tables mentally with incredible precision.
A Glance At His Genius Works
Unlike other prodigies, Inaudi did not visualize his work. “I hear the figures,” he told Alfred Binet, “and it is my ear which retains them; I hear them resounding after I have repeated them, and this interior sensation remains for a long time.”
Inaudi developed a roulette system (the so-called Inaudi system), which he practiced with success, albeit with over 3,000 coups. He played on a single piece, played after two series of four (for example, four red followed by four black).
Inaudi’s father had approached French astronomer, Camile Flammarion, hoping that his son could be educated toward a career in astronomy. The great astronomer wrote, “Someone asked , for example, how many minutes have elapsed since the birth of Jesus Christ. Or what the population would be if the dead from the past ten centuries resurrected, or the square root of a number of twelve digits, and he gave the response accurately and in two or three minutes — while amusing himself with another activity.”
Inaudi’s abilities attracted the interest of showmen, and he toured around the world. French scientists like Jean-Martin Charcot investigated his abilities, French astronomer Camille Flammarion praised him in strong terms, and Alfred Binet wrote a book on him. Inaudi would repeat the numbers he received before he began his mental calculations.
Jacques Inaudi died on November 25, 1950, in Champigny-sur-Marne.
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