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Etienne A MaraisEtienne A. Marais was born in Germiston, South Africa, on 13 January 1964. He worked in the motion picture industry for several years and then qualified as a computer engineer. He is also a music composer, graphic artist and a professional photographer. He inherited his love for number-crunching from his mother, who is a retired mathematician.

In 1991 he read a memory-improvement book that attempted to demonstrate how a calendar can be memorised using a mind-peg method (linking visual imagery to numbers). The problem was that the book was published in 1957, and the author only covered the years 1900 - 1985. Frustrated, but intrigued, Etienne tried to find a mathematical solution that would not need a static memory technique to memorise each year. Through trial and error and extensive research he developed a "calendar key" that unlocked the mathematical possibilities of calculating a perpetual calendar.

He coined the solution the "Marais Formula". It utilises basic arithmetic and only requires some memory skills to memorise the 12-digit calendar key. It is not a purely mathematical solution, but a logical one. By practising the method for 30 minutes a person would be able to do a mental calculation and produce an answer that previously required an advanced knowledge of mathematics and pages of calculations. With regular practise, the whole calculation can be done within 20 seconds.

The formula can be applied to any year in any century, past or future.

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Copyright ZAbra December 2008