Today Google celebrates the 84th birth anniversary of Shakuntala Devi, India’s ‘human computer’ for her ability to make complex mental calculations. The animated doodle dedicated to her looks like a display of a calculator showing a digital sketch of her and the words ‘Google’.
Devi was born on November 4, 1929 to a modest family in Bangalore and her father was circus performer. Her outstanding skills came to light while playing cards with her father, when she beat him by memorizing all the cards. She was only three. She demonstrated her skills to the public for the first time at the age of six in the University of Mysore and two years later at the Annamalai University.
Contrary to what people believed, she did not lose her inhuman qualities with age. In 1977, Devi extracted the 23rd root of a 201-digit number mentally and on June 18, 1980, she multiplied two 13-digit numbers (7,686,369,774,870 x 2,465,099,745,779) mentally in 28 seconds. She could also tell the day of the week of any given date in the last century almost instantaneously.
She was bestowed with a slot in the Guinness Book of World Record for her mental calculation abilities and also wrote books like Mathablit, Puzzles to Puzzle You, Astrology for You and Fun with Numbers.
Devi died earlier this year on April 21 in the city she was born, suffering from respiratory ailments.