Today I opened a new page intending to go to WordPress and make up a new post (mocking Adams or whatever, I guess?) when I saw this on my home page (which happens to be Google).
Now normally, I notice the special Google thing, think “oh, okay,” and go on with my day. What made me stop was when I hovered over the macro and it said “Shakuntala Devi’s 84th Birthday”.
“Shakuntala’s Devi? I don’t know who she is.”
Exactly. I didn’t know who she was either.
*click* went the mouse, and boom!
“Child prodigy”, “Human Computer”, and holy<bleep>sheissomuchsmarterthanme.
Really. Ms. Devi is known as the “Human Computer” because she was able to do mathematics in her head — akin to Matilda in Roald Dahl’s children’s book Matilda. And not just the multiple of 14 and 16, of course.
From Wikipedia (I left the citation notes on purpose):
In 1977 at the Southern Methodist University she was asked to give the 23rd root of a 201-digit number; she answered in 50 seconds. Her answer—546,372,891—was confirmed by calculations done at the U.S. Bureau of Standards by the UNIVAC 1101 computer, for which a special program had to be written to perform such a large calculation.
(Evidence on whether Ms. Devi was able to levitate chalk and push over water glasses with brainpower through her eyeballs has yet to surface.)
In addition, she was pro-LGBTQ, and wrote a book called The World of Homosexuals. This book called for the decriminalization of homosexuality in India and full acceptance of homosexuals within society.
Now why don’t I hear about women like her in history class?
Happy Birthday, Ms. Devi. And thank you Google for bringing her up to my attention.