Miami Dade College math professor, Yusnier Viera, 33, holds the Guinness World Record as the best mental calculator in the world under the “human calendar” category. He recently showed off his ability in SuperHuman, a new television special FOX launched on Jan. 4.
Hosted by actor Kal Penn, SuperHuman challenged 12 ordinary people to use their extraordinary skills to win a $100,000 grand prize. Penn, along with a guest panel that included iconic boxer Mike Tyson, actress/comedian Mary Lynn Rajskub and neurosurgeon Dr. Rahul Jandial, provided insight and commentary about the competitors’ unique abilities.
“His challenge is flash math with three rounds, they flash 10 two digit numbers on the screen and then Viera has to add them together in his mind, each round they will appear faster and faster,” said Kal Penn during the two-hour segment on FOX. “To do this he has to have impeccable vision, memory and calculation in his head. Each of the numbers in the first round will flash on the screen for 300 milliseconds.”
At the June taping in Los Angeles, Viera demonstrated his ability to conduct mental math equations and calculations.
“The experience was great,” Viera said. “I was able to meet 11 people with extraordinary talents. You basically show your talent to the audience and they had the ultimate vote for who wins the $100,000 prize.”
Viera did not win, but views competing on shows like SuperHuman as a fun learning experience and a way to keep his math skills sharp.
In 2013, Viera participated in a competition in Brazil called Super Brain, a Spanish-language television program produced by National Geographic. He then competed in a SuperHuman show in London, where he placed second.
In October, Viera achieved the Guinness World Record as the best mental calculator in the world under the “human calendar” category, responding in just a few seconds which day of the week corresponds to a past or future date.
His record was being able to calculate 93 dates in one minute, however, he recently beat his own record by calculating 111 dates in one minute.
Viera was born and raised in Havana, Cuba and attended the University of Havana, where he received his bachelors in Computer Science and his masters in Applied Mathematics.
“I didn’t know any English when I arrived here,” said Viera, who moved to Miami in 2007 when he was 25-years-old.
According to his relatives and parents, Viera showed his mathematical skills as a youngster.
“We knew he was talented at a very young age. Around 3 or 4 he wanted to do math problems, and was always good with numbers once he started school,” said Viera’s parents, Javier and Amarilis Viera, retired math professors their son brought over from Cuba a year ago.
Viera currently teaches full-time in the mathematics department at Homestead Campus. This semester he is teaching MAT 1033 Intermediate Algebra, MAC 1105 College Algebra, and MAC 1147 pre-Calculus Algebra and trigonometry.
“He’s a highly energetic individual who has a very special mutual connection between the students,” said John Barimo, Chair of the Mathematics and Science Department at Homestead Campus. “He is an outstanding instructor in the classroom and he also has an ability to compute mathematical calculations in his head.”
Viera has a 4.8 out 5 rating on RateMyProfessor.com.
An anonymous comment on RateMyProfessor.com read that, “Professor Viera is a great professor, probably the best math professor EVER!”
“He is a very respectful person and the students respect him and listen to him very well. It says a lot that his ratings on RateMyProfessor.com are outstanding,” Barimo stated.
“I love the experience at MDC,” Viera said. “I like to inspire others to do what they love and make my classes as fun as possible.
Along with teaching full-time at MDC, Viera also created a free math game called Hectoc where students are challenged through practicing arithmetical problems. He also tutors on the side with a company called Spicy Math, which he founded in 2011.
“One thing we need to do is break the stereotype that math is boring,” Viera said. “We use it every day. My advice is to always practice math in order to shape our brain.”