Daniel Tammet is a savant and synesthete who has miraculous mental capabilities involving mathematics, language, and sequence memorization. He holds the European record for reciting pi to 22,514 numbers speaks nearly a dozen languages. (Tammet offers language courses through his Web site, Optimnem.) Interestingly, Tammet does not exhibit any form of the mental disabilities common with savants. 60 Minutes has posted a selection of interviews and video clips from their Brain Man profile of Tammet. From the bio on his Web site:
He can calculate huge sums in his head in seconds and instantaneously recognise prime numbers, but he finds emotions difficult to understand and has trouble telling left from right. One of fewer than fifty such people living worldwide, Daniel is unique in his ability to articulate his savant experience.
He describes his visual experience of numbers as complex synaesthetic shapes with colour, texture and motion. Thirty-seven is lumpy like porridge, while eighty-nine reminds him of falling snow. Sequences of digits form visual landscapes in his mind.
Previously on BB:
• Profile of Tammet in The Guardian Link
• Gilles Tréhin, a savant and his imaginary city Link
• Stephen Wiltshire -- The "Human Camera" -- draws Rome after flyover Link
UPDATE: BB reader Scott Matthews points to a 50 minute documentary about Tammet on Google Video. Link
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