Videos of the Human Calculator

Published on Sunday, November 07, 2010 in , ,

Scott Flansburg working out the cube root of 658,503Scott Flansburg is also known as the human calculator. He's been making the rounds on several TV shows lately, so you have an excellent opportunity to see why he's earned that name.

Recently, he appeared on Chicago's channel 7 to demonstrate some of his math skills. The anchors were armed with an iPad, while Scott was armed only with his mind:

Notice that he doesn't use math skills to put himself above everybody else, but rather to inspire others to do their best.

Indeed, many of the feats you'll see here are taught right here on Grey Matters. For example, when he was asked to divide 716 by 9, you can learn that feat in my Mental Division With Decimal Precision post. The calendar feat, which is taught here, is used as the perfect closer here.

You can learn these feats, but whether you wind up as good and as fast as Scott is up to you and your commitment. In his books Math Magicn and Math Magic for Your Kids, he goes on to describe many more impressive feats that you can do, as well as help you with everyday math.

If you're curious about what he meant when he referred to everything coming back to 9, check out The Magic of 9.

Back in August, Scott also had the honor of appearing on the first episode of Stan Lee's Superhumans:

In the full version of this segment, you can also see that quick multiples series feat (49 in the Chicago video, 48 in the above video), which has really become his trademark. As near as I can tell, it's unique to him, and he does it very well!

My favorite appearance, however, was from about 6 years ago, when he appeared on a similar program, called More Than Human. This clip can be also found on Scott Flansburg's own site:

Here, you see Scott extracting the cube root of 658,503. This is a perfect example of how strange the patterns in math can be. Not only are cube roots easier to calculate than you might think, but doing 5th roots is even easier than cube roots!

This shouldn't diminish the impressive levels to which he's taken these feats. Notice that, in this version of the quick multiples series feat, he not only outpaces the calculator and causes a mistake, but also can determine the nature of the mistake! That's not something you can teach, and that's what makes Scott Flansburg's performances so impressive.

If you like these, you can find more videos on Scott's own blog, as well.

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