Biography of Shakuntala Devi


Shakuntala Devi is a calculating prodigywho was born on November 4, 1939 in Bangalore, India. Her father worked in a “Brahmin circus” as a trapeze and tightrope performer, and later as a lion tamer and a human cannonball. Hercalculating gifts first demonstrated themselves while she was doing card trickswith her father when she was three. They report she “beat” them by memorization of cards rather than by sleight of hand. By age six she demonstrated her calculation and memorization abilities atthe University of Mysore.

At the age of eight she had success at Annamalai University by doing the same. In 1977 she extracted the 23rd root of a 201-digit number mentally. She did this 12 seconds faster than the Univac-1108. On June 18, 1980 she demonstrated the multiplication of two 13-digit numbers 7,686,369,774,870 x 2,465,099,745,779 picked at random by the Computer Department of Imperial College, London. She answered the question in 28 seconds. However, this time is more likely the time for dictating the answer (a 26-digit number) than the time for the mental calculation (the time of 28 seconds was quoted on her own website). Her correct answer was 18,947,668,177,995,426,462,773,730. This event is mentioned on page 26 of the 1995 Guinness Book of Records ISBN 0-553-56942-2.

In 2006 she released a new book called In the Wonderland of Numbers with Orient Paperbacks which talks about a girl Neha and her fascination for numbers.


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