Quick, without Googling the answer or using a calculator — what is the cube root of 188,132,517?
Did you get it 546,372,891? In 1977, Shakuntala Devi was able to solve this problem faster than a computer. The Indian born math prodigy’s astounding capacity to calculate complex numerical expressions in record time won her a spot in the 1982 Guinness Book of World Records, as well as a Google logo in her honor today.
As a child, Shakuntala’s arithmetic and memorization skills were quickly identified by her father. She would grow up demonstrating her keen math talents around the world, gaining the nickname “Human Computer.”
Beyond her numerical talents, Shakuntala was a published author and astrologer. She wrote a number of novels and nonfiction books, including The World of Homosexuals, a study of homosexuality in India published in 1977.
Born on November 4, 1929 in Bangalore, India, Shakuntala would have been 84 today. She died on April 21 of this year as a result of respiratory problems.