Zerah Colburn: An Amazing Prodigy Of 19th Century

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Born on 1st September 1804, Zerah Colburn was a child prodigy of the 19th century. He was famous all around as a mental calculator. He was born in Cabot. Until the age of 6, he was thought to be intellectually disabled. Once his father had him repeating the multiplication tables, and so he decided to test him for his further mathematical abilities.

He discovered a unique thing about Zerah when he found him multiplying 13 and 97 correctly. Very soon, Colburn developed his ability and was able to solve many challenging problems in a very few time. At the age of 7, it only took six seconds for him to answer the number of hours in 38 years, two months, and seven days. He was also able to solve many complex problems.

Zerah’s Education

Zerah Colburn (locomotive designer) - Wikipedia
Zerah Colburn

His father took him to various places to demonstrate Zerah’s abilities. Once, the president of Dartmouth College offered to take care of his expense for the education, but his father rejected it. When he was at Boston University, many professors from Harvard college visited him. Many articles were published in the newspapers about him and his extraordinary abilities.

The Career of Zerah Colburn

He moved to New York to work as an assistant teacher for an academy. Later, he taught French in Burlington. At the same time, he was pursuing his studies at the University of Vermont. Colburn served as a preacher in the church for nine years and then settled in Vermont.

Zerah Colburn (mental calculator) - Alchetron, the free social encyclopedia

Soon, he was appointed as the professor of languages in 1835 at Dartmouth College. He died on 2nd March 1839, at the age of 34, because of tuberculosis.

ALSO READ: Murray Gell-Mann: Former Prodigy & Nobel Prize Winner in Physics

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