Shakuntala Devi life and biography

Shakuntala Devi picture, image, poster

Shakuntala Devi biography

Date of birth : 1939-11-04
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Bangalore, India
Nationality : Indian
Category : Science and Technology
Last modified : 2010-06-06
Credited as : Mathematician calculating prodigy, Truman Henry Safford,

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Shakuntala Devi a calculating prodigy who was born on November 4, 1939 in a Brahmin family 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. Her calculating gifts first demonstrated themselves while she was doing card tricks with 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 at the University of Mysore. At the age of eight she had success at Annamalai University by doing the same.

Unlike many other calculating prodigies, for example Truman Henry Safford, her abilities did not wane in adulthood. In 1977 she extracted the 23rd root of a 201-digit number mentally. 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 1977, she published the first study of homosexuality in India. According to Subhash Chandra's review of Ana Garcia-Arroyo's book The Construction of Queer Culture in India: Pioneers and Landmarks,

For Garcia-Arroyo the beginning of the debate on homosexuality in the twentieth century is made with Shakuntala Devi's book The World of Homosexuals published in 1977. [...] Shakuntala Devi's (the famous mathematician) book appeared. This book went almost unnoticed, and did not contribute to queer discourse or movement. [...] The reason for this book not making its mark was because Shakuntala Devi was famous for her mathematical wizardry and nothing of substantial import in the field of homosexuality was expected from her. Another factor for the indifference meted out to the book could perhaps be a calculated silence because the cultural situation in India was inhospitable for an open and elaborate discussion on this issue.

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

Some of her books include :

* Puzzles to Puzzle You
* More Puzzles to Puzzle You
* Book of Numbers
* Figuring: The Joy of Numbers
* In the Wonderland of Numbers
* Mathability: Awaken the Math Genius in Your Child
* Astrology for You
* Perfect Murder
* master of game
* The World of Homosexuals

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