I chanced upon this geekchic-ness when I spotted yesterday’s Google Doodle dedicated to Shakuntala Devi (mostly thanks to my epic jetlag which has ME wide awake at 4am every morning. Ugh!) Anyway, chances are that name rings a bell! If not, read on for a few nuggets of trivia you can happily repeat to your friends that will make you sound all smart and everything :) xoxo
1. Shakuntala Devi was born in Bangalore on November 4, 1929 and had the ability to memorize numbers and perform complex calculations as a child.
2. In 1970 she was able to calculate the cube root of 188,132,517 faster than a computer. (FYI the answer is 573 and now so can you.) An institute in Germany was SO impressed they gave her a Mercedes Benz.
3. On June 18, 1980, she multiplied two 13-digit numbers — 7,686,369,774,870 × 2,465,099,745,779 — picked at random by the Computer Department of Imperial College, London and correctly answered 18,947,668,177,995,426,462,773,730 in 28 seconds! This is even mentioned in the 1982 Guinness Book of Records. (Now go on break out your calculator and try it, I know you want to!)
4. Devi wrote the first study of homosexuality released in India titled The World of Homosexuals because she herself was married to a homosexual man.
5. So guess who Google celebrated on Diwali? Yup, our very own math wiz aka “Human Computer” Shakuntala Devi‘s 84th birthday via a brilliant Google Doodle! Watch this:
Happy Birthday Shakuntala Devi and rest in peace, you’ve definitely made us proud!