The Child Prodigy Known As ‘Human Computer’ – Shakuntala Devi

1 min read

Shakuntala Devi, popularly known as a ‘human computer’, was India’s most famous mental calculator. She had the exceptional talent to solve typical calculations in her mind in the span of a few seconds. She amazed millions of people globally through her calculation skills. 

Why Shakuntala Devi Was Called A Prodigy?

Shakuntala Devi was born on November 4, 1929. She was recognized as a child prodigy. At the age of three, her parents noticed her fascination for calculation as she played with cards. When she was five, she could compute cube roots in her mind. After that, she soon began to deliver public performances and appeared on several radio shows as well.

The Amazing Indian Human Computer | Shakuntala Devi | Kavishala

She spent her youth showcasing her calculating abilities in various parts of India. By 1950, she was in Europe. There, on a special show at the BBC, she amazed people by solving mathematical and calendric problems on air. 

Shakuntala Devi’s Skills

All this started with calculating cube roots of large numbers, which she could do in her head quickly. Then in 1988, in a test conducted for her abilities, Devi mentally calculated the cube roots of 95,443,993 in 2 seconds, and 204,336 in 5 seconds. Her performance was remarkable.

She once calculated the 7th root of a 27 digit number, 455762531836562695930666032734375, in 40 seconds. This was recorded in a test at Berkeley in 1988. Long multiplication is the skill that got her into the Guinness Book of World Records in 1982. 

Meet 'Human Computer' Shakuntala Devi, The First Indian Woman To Lobby For  Gay Rights - Homegrown

Other than that, the mathematical genius was very good at calendrical calculations. She could instantly say which day of the week a particular date fell on. Her average response time was about 1 second which is not a usual thing. 

A Self Taught Prodigy

Shakuntala Devi was entirely a self-taught child prodigy. She was the daughter of a circus performer. She used to travel with her parents since she was only three years old. It is said that she improved her calculating abilities while performing card tricks. Once she began to calculate cube roots rapidly in her head, she became a performer exploring and exhibiting her skills. Moreover, She kept catching the attention of people throughout her life. This incredible prodigy passed away on April 21, 2013. 

The Global Child Prodigy remembers this mathematics legend, and we wish to see many more child prodigies like her. If you know any such child prodigy near you, make sure to click here.

Also Read : Five Facts You Should Know About The Musical Prodigy, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Get to Know about the Latest Child Prodigies!

Subscribe to our Newsletter