Shakuntala Devi, The Human Computer, Receives Google Doodle Honor

    November 4, 2013
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

Shakuntala Devi, otherwise known as the “human computer,” is the subject of Google’s homepage doodle today, as the search giant celebrates her 84th birthday.

Devi traveled with her father’s circus in India as a child, wowing people with her ability to calculate large sums in her head. He had apparently discovered her talents while playing a card game with her when she was just 3.

She made her way in to the Guinness Book of World Records in 1982 when she multiplied two thirteen-digit numbers in less than thirty seconds.

Sadly, Devi passed away earlier this year, as a result of respiratory illness.

Google, never one to shy away from celebrating brilliant mathematical minds, has chosen to illustrate Devi’s memory with an appropriate calculator-inspired animated doodle.

  • mary lee kind

    I’m just an ordinary ole lady, but I really enjoy your google messages, and look forward to your next. I learn a variety of decent things, and I always smile.
    Thanks for your creativity! It is a kick!
    Mary Lee

  • Srini

    Good to see Shakuntala Devi on Google home page today.Thanks Chris for giving more info about her

  • john doe

    Hats off to Shakuntala Devi!! Her talents are incomparable – any forward thinking, resource rich institution could have tapped into her genious to benefit mankind. It is unfortunate how little publicity she has received.

  • Fricke

    ‘d have been more impressed with her talents if she didn’t add astrology to her resume. With this background, it seems to me that Google is celebrating the life of one of the preeminent pseudo-scientists of our time. Numbers without science is only numerology.

    • David

      An interesting observation, Fricke. I have to wonder, though — since I strongly doubt that my mind function the same as Ms. Devi’s — and since I then am forced to concede it is entirely possible she sees and forms relationships beyond my comprehension — would I have a valid position to question her interest in astrology?
      It might be valid for me to say “I don’t get it”.
      But I don’t think it would be valid for me to attempt to challenge her expressed interest in a field.

      Since — opinions without knowledge are simply words. :)

    • thomas

      i disagree, she may of had some erroneous beliefs but she stil understood numerical relationships that given a adequate exposure to science could of done fnatastic tings

  • Jayendra Doshi

    Yes, I know this. I had an opportunity to meet Shakuntala Devi, she visited at our school, A.S.Chowdhri High School at Rajkot. Gujarat State, INDIA. At the assembly hall, our math teacher asked a problem for multiply about ten or some-what more than tenor twelve digit by ten or twelve digit, on black board , and Shakuntala Devi calculated the same in less than 4 to 5 minutes.
    Our Math teacher took more than 2 to 3 hours , while calculating the same on paper. I think at that time there was no calculator available in schools.
    I think, she visited our school in 1964 or ’65.

  • thomas

    think of all the human potential lost because our human society has this false system of valuing where, who or what you are born as instead of nurturing all human brains