A scientific Rosetta Stone

February 24, 2010 at 7:16 am 1 comment

Daniel Tammet.

A recent six-part interview on the Sharp Brains blog introduces Daniel as a best-selling author whose claim to fame is his ability to “vividly describe autistic savantism from the inside”

Wikipedia notes that he is one of fewer than 50 autistic savants in the world, perhaps best known for “reciting pi from memory to 22,514 digits” and learning the Icelandic language in just seven days

This must-watch 60 Minutes story explains, “[Daniel] may very well be a scientific Rosetta stone, a key to understanding the brain” —

The Science Channel calls him, simply, Brain Man. Their documentary on Daniel Tammet is available in five parts on YouTube, the first of which is here:

Continue watching Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.

Simply amazing.


Entry filed under: think. Tags: , , , , , , .

Memory snooze The greatest race the world has never seen

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. jleeger  |  February 24, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    really good JR! Thanks, as usual!

    Notice, though, how they say what he does is “almost magical?”

    Why “magical?”

    What this signals for me is that this is possible for ANY human being. If it is possible for one, it is possible for all.

    It also says a lot about what we value…why is this important? Why is it amazing? I would hazard the statement that it would be seen as useless, silly, or maybe dangerous in a society/culture that doesn’t value mathematics (or “science”) as we do.

    So, to that effect, what are the “magical talents/abilities” that individuals are showing that we are not making documentaries about because they don’t fit into our culture?

    Human potential is vast…


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Jason R. Atwood

I'm an avid trail runner and doctoral student at U.C. Berkeley who studies motivation and the relationship between the mind and body. This blog is a forum to share research, news, and musings about these topics of interest. More

Play is the beginning of knowledge.

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