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Genius in town: Number cruncher

Need help while choosing a winner at the next races? Shakuntala Devi’s new book could be of great help...

Image Credit:XPRESS/Karen Dias
Shakuntala Devi, the maths wizard, is in the UAE to popularise mathematics.


It could well be the hottest book in the world when it gets published.

Indian mathematical genius Shakuntala Devi, who has gained worldwide fame for her prowess with numbers, has extended her extraordinary skills to the realm of horse racing.

"The book will be titled ‘Numerology of Horse Racing' and I expect it to be published in another six months," said Devi, who has even outpaced computers in mathematical calculations.

The book will reveal methods of guessing the winning horses through numbers, she revealed.

Devi, who attributes her mathematical gifts to God, is in the UAE on the dual mission of popularising mathematics as well as mobilising funds for a mathematical institute in Bangalore in the southern Indian state of Karnataka.

The Indian wizard discovered her expertise with numbers when she was just three.

Whether it is calculating the cube root of large numbers or reeling out the matching weekdays for every date of any month in any year or doing intricate multiplication or division within a few seconds, she seems to conjure up the answers in a jiffy.

"The answers just flash across my mind," she said when asked about her secret.

Devi has already authored 14 books, mostly on numbers and numerical puzzles. Her book on Vedic Mathematics is "almost ready", she said.

She also has a lurking suspicion that acclaimed Indian actor-director Aamir Khan drew ideas for his hit film Taare Zamin Par, from her book In the Wonderland of Numbers. "My book was published much before his film was made," she reasons.

And her advice for budding mathematicians? Develop concentration and strengthen memory, she said. "Attend my eight-hour workshops to learn more," she added smiling.

Devi has just conducted a workshop at the Abu Dhabi Indian School, where 24 students and some teachers participated.

Record feat

In 1980, Shakuntala Devi found a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for multiplying two randomly chosen 13-digit numbers in 28 seconds. Nobody has matched this feat since then.

"I did it quite casually during a talk in London," she recalled. She multiplied the numbers 7,686,369,774,870 and 2,465,099,745,779 picked at random by the computer department at a college.


Your comments


I didn't know she is this famous and great! She'll be Visiting my school, The Elite English School. Thanks for writing this article. I want to be like her!
Anonymous, UAE - Dubai
Posted: April 23, 2008, 20:22