Scott Flansburg

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Scott Flansburg
Flansburg in 2011
Flansburg in 2011
Born (1963-12-28) December 28, 1963 (age 54)
Herkimer, New York
Pen name The Human Calculator
Occupation Mental calculator
Language English
Nationality American
Notable works Math Magic
Math Magic for Kids
Notable awards Guinness World Record 2001

Scott Flansburg (born December 28, 1963) is an American man who is often called a mental calculator. Dubbed multiple times as "The Human Calculator", he was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records for speed of mental calculation. He is the annual host and ambassador for World Maths Day, and is a math educator and media personality. Flansburg has also published the books Math Magic and Math Magic for Your Kids.[1]


Early life[edit]

Scott Flansburg was born on December 28, 1963, in Herkimer, New York. Scott has stated that he was nine years old when he first discovered his mental calculator abilities. He stated that he wasn't paying attention in math class and his teacher picked him to solve a math equation on the board. He said instead of going right to left in that addition sum, he went left to right and he was able to solve the question. Afterwards he would keep a running tally of his family's groceries at the store, so his father could give the cashier an exact check before the bill had been rung up.[2] In his youth he also began noticing that the shape and number of angles in numbers are clues to their value, and began counting from 0 to 9 on his fingers instead of 1 to 10.[3]

Early career[edit]

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

In 1991, Flansburg was involved in the creation of a product called "The Human Calculator System" designed for direct-marketing sales channels which consisted of a study guide and four cassettes teaching his method. He appeared in the informercial series "Amazing Discoveries" hosting by Mike Levey in the Spring of that year to help sell his product. He is introduced as "The Human Calculator" at the beginning of the program, perhaps for the first time for national media markets.[5]

He 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 Flansburg invented a 13-month calendar that uses zero as a day, month, and year alternative to the Gregorian calendar that he called "The Human Calculator Calendar."[6]

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

As an educator[edit]

Since about 1990[3] Flansburg has regularly given lectures and presentations at schools.[7] He has appeared as a presenter at institutions such as NASA, IBM, The Smithsonian Institution, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics,[4] and the Mental Calculation World Cup. The latter has described Flansburg as "more an auditory than a visual [mental] calculator."[9]

According to Flansburg, one of his personal missions is to use education to elevate mathematical confidence and self-esteem in adults and children, stating "Why has it become so socially acceptable to be bad at math? 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 is a proponent of students becoming comfortable with calculation methods instead of relying on table memorization.[3] Flansburg is the annual host and ambassador for World Maths Day.[10] He is also 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, Larry King Live. On April 26, 2009, while on the Japanese primetime show Asahi's Otona no Sonata, he broke his own world record with 37 answers in 15 seconds.[10] 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.[11] An fMRI scan while he was doing complex calculations revealed that his brain 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.[12]

In January 2016, the TV show titled The Human Calculator, hosted by Flansburg, premiered on H2.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Flansburg resides in San Diego, California.[11]


  • Math Magic for Your Kids (1998)[8]
  • Math Magic (2004)[14]


  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". 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. ^ Brain, Mr. (July 12, 2010). "Mental Calculation World Cup 2010". Mental Calculation World Cup. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  10. ^ a b "Scott Flansburg: The Human Calculator". Archived from the original on 2011-09-24. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  11. ^ a b "Featured Superhumans: The Human Calculator". Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  12. ^ "Electro Man: Episode 101". Stan Lee's Superhumans. August 5, 2011. 
  13. ^ The Human Calculator Full Episodes, Video & More HISTORY
  14. ^ Flansburg, Scott (1993). Math Magic. Harper Paperbacks. ISBN 978-0-06-072635-5. 

External links[edit]