Homestead Campus is home to a Guinness World Record holder.
Mathematics professor Yusnier Viera took one minute to calculate which day fell on 132 dates between the years 1600 and 2100. It’s the second time the math wiz has broken the record. He originally set the mark in October of 2005 but a 12-year-old boy from India beat his record in 2016.
Viera, 35, bested the boy’s mark on Jan. 27 by seven dates.
“This record means a lot to me. It shows that with hard work and determination, you can accomplish what you set out to do,” Viera said. “After initially losing it, I knew I had to work harder, so once I won it back I just felt so happy to once again see my hard work pay off.”
Viera’s penchant for numbers has been featured on CNN, ABC, the Discovery Channel series Superhero Showdown and the NatGeo Latin American show Súper Cerebros.
In 2013, his brain was studied by University of Sussex neuroscientists Ludovico Minati and Natasha Sigala. In the study, he completed a computerized version of the Raven’s Progressive Matrices Test with an IQ score of 157. The neuroscientists concluded that his expertise is a result of long-term practice and motivation.
Despite his accomplishments, Viera says his biggest reward is inspiring others. Tomas Perez, a Homestead Campus School for Advanced Studies student, remembers sitting in front of his television in Cuba, watching Viera compete in Germany.
“Seeing him in the competition and doing what he was doing was amazing,” Perez said. “I had no idea someone was capable of such a thing.”
Viera grew up in Havana, Cuba. He received his bachelor’s degree in computer science and a master’s degree in applied mathematics from the University of Havana. It was there he put himself on the path to breaking world records as a means to escape Cuba.
“I took this opportunity to get out of life in Cuba because I knew there was so much more the world had to offer,” Viera said. “When I had the chance to compete in Germany, I realized everything I was exposed to and taught in Cuba was a lie. It was in Germany that I realized that in Cuba, I wasn’t allowed to be free and think for myself.”
When Viera practices his calculations, he uses a program that he created. The program is designed to generate random dates within a period of time. When he first began, Viera practiced up to eight hours a day, but has cut down to three to four hours to accommodate his schedule as a professor.
Viera moved to Miami five years ago and soon began teaching at Miami Dade College. His strong drive and bright personality has rubbed off on his students and coworkers.
“He’s just one of the most charismatic and brightest people I’ve worked with. He’s the kind of [person] who brightens everyone’s day and that’s something students have noticed,” said Homestead Campus associate professor Yanely Cordero. “Whenever I talk to them, they always say things like ‘He’s the coolest math teacher ever, he always helps us and breaks things down so that we understand what we’re learning.’ ”