Mathematical genius Shakuntala Devi dies

Last Updated: Sun, Apr 21, 2013 20:15 hrs

Mathematical prodigy Shakuntala Devi died at a hospital in Bangalore on Friday following respiratory problems. She was 83.

Hospitalised a couple of weeks ago for critical respiratory problems, she passed away at a Bangalore hospital at 8:15 am on Sunday.

Popularly known as "Human Computer", Shakuntala Devi was a mathematician and a prodigy mental calculator.

She was born in Bangalore to an orthodox priestly Kannada Brahmin family but her rebellious father worked as a trapeze and tightrope performer, and later as a lion tamer and a human cannonball in a circus.

At around three years age, she was roped in to help her father with card tricks and soon found herself at road shows displaying her amazing abilities at number crunching.

At the age of six, she demonstrated her calculation skills in her first major public performance at the University of Mysore and two years later proved herself at Annamalai University.

In 1977, Shakuntala Devi extracted the 23rd root of a 201-digit number mentally, a feat that took a then contemporary computer 10 seconds longer to match.

She had been admitted to a hospital in Bangalore on April 3 as her kidneys had become weak and she also had respiratory problems.

She was 83 years old and is survived by a daughter.

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