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Zerah Colburn (mental calculator) (wikipedia.org)
25 points by samclemens on April 2, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 4 comments

"In September 1813 Colburn was being exhibited in Dublin. Colburn was pitted against the 8-year-old William Rowan Hamilton in a mental arithmetic contest, with Colburn emerging the clear victor. In reaction to his defeat, Hamilton dedicated less time to studying languages and more time to studying mathematics."

This is the same Hamilton that brought amazing contributions to physics and algebra. I didn't realize Hamilton was also a child prodigy, although it isn't surprising.

"solve such problems as the number of seconds in 2,000 years" - I'm not sure if I can do that correctly, even with a calculator.

What about leap years and leap seconds?


Leap seconds didn't exist then.

Leap years (looking forward) run on a 400 year cycle, and 400 divides 2000

Which 2000-year period? Do you mean from the year 0 to 2000, or 20 to 2020, or 1600 to 3600?

The Gregorian calendar wasn't standardised until 1582.

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