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Scott Flansburg

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Scott Flansburg
Flansburg in 2011
Flansburg in 2011
Born (1963-12-28) December 28, 1963 (age 60)
Herkimer, New York
Pen nameThe Human Calculator
OccupationMental calculator
Notable worksMath Magic
Math Magic for Kids
Notable awardsGuinness World Record 2001

Scott Flansburg (born December 28, 1963) is an American dubbed "The Human Calculator" and listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for speed of mental calculation. He is the annual host and ambassador for The National Counting Bee, a math educator, and media personality. He has published the books Math Magic and Math Magic for Your Kids.[1]


Early life[edit]

Flansburg was born December 28, 1963, in Herkimer, New York. He has stated that he was nine years old when he discovered his mental calculation abilities. He says he wasn't paying attention in math class when his teacher asked him to add 4 numbers on the blackboard. Instead of adding the columns from right to left, as they had been taught, he added them from left to right, and solved the problem. Intrigued by math, he began keeping a running tally of his family's groceries at the store so his father could give the cashier an exact check before the total was rung up.[2] In his youth he also began noticing that the shapes and numbers of angles in numbers were clues to their values, and began counting from 0 to 9 on his fingers instead of 1 to 10.[3]

Early career[edit]

Flansburg can mentally add, subtract, multiply, divide, and find square and cube roots almost instantly, with calculator accuracy. Around 1990 he began using his abilities in an entertainment and educational context.[4]

In 1991, he was involved in the creation of "The Human Calculator System", a product designed for direct-marketing salespeople, consisting of a study guide and four cassette recordings teaching his method. In the spring of that year, he appeared on the infomercial show "Amazing Discoveries", hosted by Mike Levey, to promote his product. At the beginning of the program, he was introduced as "The Human Calculator" for the first time in national media.[5]

Flansburg was dubbed "The Human Calculator" by Regis Philbin after appearing on Live with Regis and Kathy Lee.[2]

The Guinness Book of World Records listed him as "Fastest Human Calculator"[4] in 2001 and 2003,[6] after he broke the record for adding the same number to itself more times in 15 seconds than someone could do with a calculator.[7] In 1999 he invented a 13-month calendar using zero as a day, month, and year, which he called "The Human Calculator Calendar".[6]

In 1998 he published the Harper Paperbacks book Math Magic for Your Kids: Hundreds of Games and Exercises from the Human Calculator to Make Math Fun and Easy.[8] A revised edition of his book Math Magic: How to Master Everyday Math Problems was published in 2004.[3]

The Counting Bee[edit]

Flansburg is the creator of the Counting Bee, an annual, fast-paced competition to find the fastest human counters in different age categories around the world. Based on a 15-second countdown, "mathletes" race to compute as many numeric answers in each level. For each level, they are given random starting numbers and told to count by a fixed number. The starting numbers and counting numbers increase in difficulty with each level. The top mathletes are those who successfully complete the most levels. State-wide and country-wide competitions determine Counting Bee World Champions by age groups.

The Human Calculator[edit]

Scott Flansburg developed a mental math program called 'The Human Calculator.[9]' Scott's course provides a step-by-step guide to becoming 'A Human Calculator.' Scott created this course to help people master mental mathematics. The training covers the unknown and hidden patterns behind numbers and how they work in our daily life.

As an educator[edit]

Since about 1990[3] Flansburg has regularly given lectures and presentations at schools.[7] He has been a presenter at organizations such as NASA, IBM, The Smithsonian Institution, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics,[4] and the Mental Calculation World Cup. The latter described Flansburg as "more an auditory than a visual [mental] calculator".[10]

One of Flansburg's "personal missions" is to use education to elevate math confidence and self-esteem in adults and children. "Why has it become so socially acceptable to be bad at math?," he stated. "If you were illiterate, you wouldn’t say that on TV, but you can say that you are bad at math. We have to change the attitude." He believes students should become proficient with calculation methods rather than relying on table memorization.[3]

Flansburg is the annual host and ambassador for World Maths Day,[11] and an official promoter of the American Math Challenge, a competition for students preparing for World Math Day.[7]

Media appearances[edit]

Flansburg has appeared on television shows such as The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and Larry King Live. On April 26, 2009, on the Japanese primetime show Asahi's Otona no Sonata, he broke his own world record with 37 answers in 15 seconds.[11] He was featured as The Human Calculator in the first episode of Stan Lee's Superhumans, which aired on The History Channel on August 5, 2010. Part of the episode analyzed his brain activity.[12] An fMRI scan while he was doing complex calculations revealed that activity in the Brodmann area 44 region of the frontal cortex was absent; instead, there was activity somewhat higher from area 44 and closer to the motor cortex.[13]

In January 2016, Flansburg hosted the TV show The Human Calculator on H2.[14]

Personal life[edit]

Flansburg resides in Herkimer, New York. He has owned and operated the Herkimer Originals of the American Basketball Association since 2021.


  • Math Magic for Your Kids (1998)[8]
  • Math Magic (2004)[15]


  1. ^ "Scott Flansburg". HarperCollins Publishers. Retrieved 2011-09-09.
  2. ^ a b Smith, Jacqueline (August 17, 2009). "'Human calculator' looking for Kiwi mathletes". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2011-09-09.
  3. ^ a b c d "Scott Flansburg: The Math King". Children's Literature Network. March 21, 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-09.
  4. ^ a b c "Meet Scott Flansburg". ScottFlansburg.com. Retrieved 2011-09-09.
  5. ^ "Amazing Discoveries Infomercial: Human Calculator". YouTube. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  6. ^ a b Noory, George (June 16, 2002). "Guests: Scott Flansburg". Coast to Coast AM. Retrieved 2011-09-09.
  7. ^ a b c Reiter, Angela (October 22, 2010). "Woodlands Academy Mesmerized By The Human Calculator". Trib Local. Retrieved 2011-09-09.
  8. ^ a b Scott, Flansburg (1998). Math Magic for Your Kids. Harper Paperbacks. ISBN 978-0-06-097731-3.
  9. ^ Flansburg, Scott. "The Human Calculator | Mental Math Trainer - Scott Flansburg". scottflansburg.com/. Retrieved 2021-09-19.
  10. ^ Brain, Mr. (July 12, 2010). "Mental Calculation World Cup 2010". Mental Calculation World Cup. Retrieved 2011-09-09.
  11. ^ a b "Scott Flansburg: The Human Calculator". ScottFlansburg.com. Archived from the original on 2011-09-24. Retrieved 2011-09-09.
  12. ^ "Featured Superhumans: The Human Calculator". History.com. Retrieved 2011-09-09.
  13. ^ "Electro Man: Episode 101". Stan Lee's Superhumans. August 5, 2011.
  14. ^ The Human Calculator Full Episodes, Video & More HISTORY
  15. ^ Flansburg, Scott (1993). Math Magic. Harper Paperbacks. ISBN 978-0-06-072635-5.

External links[edit]