Nuts over numbers

Updated: 04 August, 2020 18:28 IST | Jovita Aranha | Mumbai

With the new film on Shakuntala Devi, India's mathematics genius, focusing on the subject, Indian prodigy Neelakantha Bhanu Prakash picks three handy apps to junk the phobia and ace the numbers game

At the age of five, Hyderabad-based Neelakantha Bhanu Prakash met with an accident that rendered him bedridden for a year. It opened avenues for his tryst with arithmetic calculations and puzzles. What transpired eventually earned him titles like Fastest Human Calculator and The Number Prodigy over the years as he competed against records set by maths geniuses including Shakuntala Devi and Scott Flansburg.

In 2015, he added a randomly selected two-digit number to itself 41 times in 15 seconds, thereby outdoing the calculator's speed. He also multiplied three-digit numbers simultaneously without writing down the intermediate results in 40.43 seconds the same year. He created national and world records, participated in the Limca Book of Records (2013-15), the International Arithmetic Prodigy Championship (2013), the National Arithmetic Prodigy Champion (2011-12) and the Mental Calculation World Cup(2014 and 2016).

At 20, this young mathematician, through his company, Exploring Infinities, is helping kids beat their phobia of mathematics by training them in speed mental arithmetic. Here are his top three picks for apps to ace maths.

Neelakantha Bhanu Prakash
Neelakantha Bhanu Prakash

IXL Math
Propagating the belief that maths is more than just numbers, IXL uses a bank of exercises, games and real-world scenarios to make maths fun. From identifying shapes to mastering the rational root theorem, the app covers topics from kindergarten to Class 12 syllabi. Designed to adapt to the student's level of understanding, its interactive format ensures that even answers that students get wrong are followed by pop-ups giving them the correct answer and a detailed explanation of the concept. Constant progress reports and awards work as motivators to help kids take on new challenges and excel.

Available on Google Play

Elevate is an award-winning brain training programme. Designed by neuroscience and cognitive learning experts, the app uses an array of interactive games and exercises to help you improve not just your maths skills but also vocabulary, comprehension, memory, processing and precision. From simple calculations to highly complicated ones, you can keep unlocking difficulty levels as you move forward. A detailed daily report keeps track of your progress and areas of improvement.

Available on Google Play

Play Magnus
Prakash reiterates that maths goes beyond numbers and involves logic, reasoning and mastering strategy. And so he suggests honing these skills through visualisation in chess. Launched by chess champion Magnus Carlsen, Play Magnus helps you improve problem-solving and maths skills. Every move in chess is carefully calculated, which goes to prove how heavily integrated maths is in the game. He emphasises that studies over the decades have observed that individuals who play chess show improved maths and reading skills, and cognitive development.

Available on Google Play
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First Published: 04 August, 2020 10:02 IST

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