Days after the Vidya Balan-starrer film on India's 'Human-Computer' Shakuntala Devi released, an old video of the author and mathematician has been going viral on social media.
The miracle woman was known the world over for her ability to solve complex mathematical problems in a matter of seconds without the use of pen, paper, or calculator. She also holds a Guinness Book World Record for correctly multiplying two randomly selected 13-digit numbers within 28 seconds.
In the video, Devi can be seen solving a series of mathematical questions posed by the audience within seconds, much like a computer.
The video dates back to a 1977 clip from a Doordarshan episode featuring Devi performing for an Indian crowd shortly after her return from a series of international performances. It was originally shared on YouTube by the Prasar Bharti Archives
Watch the video here:
Born to Kannadiga parents in 1929, Shakuntala Devi showed her tremendous gift despite not having received any formal schooling. She demonstrated her remarkable brain skills at public shows with the help and encouragement of her father, who was a circus performer.
Soon her shows picked up craze as people could not believe her immense grip on the huge numbers. This earned her enough money to help contribute to the family. Devi was popular enough in the following years to set out for a Europe tour in 1950.
Twenty-seven years later, the prodigy competed with a UNIVAC computer to find the 23rd root of a 201-digit number. She completed her calculation in 50 seconds which was 12 seconds faster than the computer.