While most of us dread the idea of mathematics and heavy numbers, there is Shakuntala Devi, an Indian superhero when it comes to numbers. Faster than a computer, she was known as the ‘human calculator’.

From giving the the 23rd root of a 201-digit number in 50 seconds to multiplying two 13-digit numbers in 28 seconds, her unimaginable skill and intelligence manages to always leave us in awe. Here are a few unseen moments from her life that capture her brilliance. 


When she demonstrated the reason why she is undoubtedly known as the human calculator 

Shakuntala Devi on her gift and owning a computer that is merely a word processor. 

Her interview from 1996 where she shared that 3 was her lucky number, always. And her love for cube roots. 

A young Shakuntala in Europe, leaving people dumbfounded at the age of 22.

A clip from her appearance on Ricky Jay’s show about extraordinary, unbelievable people from across the world. 

When she was a sass queen and asked the panel if they wanted her answer from left to right or right to left. 


Not only was she a math genius, she was also one of the first to fight for the rights of homosexuals in India. Shakuntala Devi wrote the book The World of Homosexuals back in 1977 which included interviews of those from the community who were living difficult lives. The book was well ahead of its time, just like this amazing woman.