Published: 23rd December 2020
India's 'Fastest Human Calculator' breaks his own record on a YouTube livestream
Neelakantha Bhanu Prakash stunned his audience as he was addressing them on a panel along with comedians Naveen Richard, Abijit Ganguly and others
On December 22, the National Math Day, India's fastest human calculator was on a virtual marathon of sorts. Neelakantha Bhanu Prakash, a final year BSc student from St Stephen’s College, Delhi held a live stream on his YouTube channel to celebrate the occasion. During this, he stunned all those who were watching by breaking his own record of consecutively adding 2-digit numbers 42 times under 15 seconds from having previously done it 40 times under 15 seconds. During the live stream, Bhanu was accompanied by panelists including comedians Naveen Richard, Abijit Ganguly, Praveen Kumar and mentalist Suhani Shah.
"This was one of my first steps towards my mission of making Math popular culture," he says, "What better way to celebrate National Math Day than making a larger space for it in pop culture? We had comedians and other entertainers involved because comedy is a medium through which you can get through to the youth and make them see that it's not as serious as it looks."
Earlier this year, he won gold in the Mental Calculation World Championship at the Mind Sports Olympiad 2020 held virtually in the UK. In Bhanu's words, the live steam was the first time that the subject was promoted on social media as a pop culture sport. The panelists indulged in a math-based game where a set of numbers were presented on their screen and they had to add them within a limited period of time.
Bhanu, who founded Exploring Infinities, an Edtech startup that encourages digital Math learning says, “The rise of popularity of chess among social media users, thanks to YouTube influencers, has now made chess a favourite among young people. We intend to create the same culture around Math. This would help make the subject more relatable, eradicate math phobia and achieve a higher numeracy rate across India. We also intend to launch online math multi-player games very soon for people, particularly youngsters, to compete among them and see math as a sport.”