Monday, November 4, 2013

Human calculator Devi Shakuntala, today's Google honoree, also pioneering Indian gay rights advocate

Today's Google honoree is Shakuntala Devi, India's "human calculator" who would have been 84 today had she not died last April. In 1977, at SMU, she extracted the 23rd root of a 201-digit number in 50 seconds, beating a Univac computer by 12 seconds.
     But she was also renowned in India for something else, reported the Christian Science Monitor.
     ...During her life, she published almost a dozen books, most of them about mathematics. Her writing also included a 1977 book on homosexuality that was widely considered a pioneering move in conservative India, calling for total acceptance of homosexuality in the country. She later said that the book was a compassionate response to her failed marriage to a gay man.

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