Meet the Usain Bolt of maths from Hyderabad

V Rishi Kumar Hyderabad | Updated on August 29, 2020

Neelakanta Bhanu Prakash Jonnalgadda is a maths wizard whose vision is to work towards removing the maths phobia with his start-up Exploring Infinities.

Pipping 29 other contestants from 13 countries at the Mind Sports Olympiad hosted at London, he bagged the first-ever gold for an Indian at the Mental Calculation World Championship. First held in 1998, the recent one to be hosted at London, was made virtual due to Covid-induced lockdowns.

Having given up his admission at IIT-Hyderabad, he recently graduated in Maths (Honors) from St Stephens College, New Delhi, secured admission at London School of Economics, and won a number of laurels for his cognitive and maths skills. He is now considered as the Fastest Human Calculator.

For his big strides, some describe him as Usain Bolt of maths and others compare him with mathematician Shakuntala Devi and Scott Flansburg for emerging as the fastest human calculator in the world.

Not only maths

Neelakanta survived a major accident when he was five years old. He had 74 stitches on his head, was bedridden for three months and confined to home for one year. That was when his parents initiated him into maths, enrolled him for SIP Abacus program, and the rest, as they say, is history.

He honed his maths skills and completed 9 levels of Abacus, Grand Master program offered by SIP Academy and won the International Abacus Champion 2013 and National Abacus Champion 2011 & 2012 and went on to break a number of records and winning competitions and bagging titles.

As he groomed his life around maths, Bhanu has taken to public speaking (he is a four-time TEDx speaker), story telling and loves teaching maths to remove ‘maths phobia.’ “People either take to maths quickly or end up having a maths phobia by the age of 6-7. My mission is to see that this phobia is off people by making maths a sport,” he says.

“Crunching numbers is just one thing. Maths is about a lot of other things. When one says that this is a God’s gift, I feel that they are unfair to a person who has put all his time for maths,” he says.

During schooling at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, he was considered a maths wizard having completed Grand Master programme offered by SIP Academy, bagged four world records and 50 Limca Book of Records. The records include Fastest Human Calculation, Power Multiplication Record and The Super Subtraction Record.

What next?

Neelakanta’s start-up Exploring Infinities works with the Telangana government and T-SAT network and shares 700 hours of math content for classes 6-10 in government schools to boost up children’s cognitive development and to popularise mental arithmetic with novel gamified learning.

Published on August 27, 2020

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