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Daniel Tammet, aka "Brain Man"


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I brought this up in the Cunning Linguists thread, but I think it's worth its own thread.

Are you guys familiar with Daniel Tammet? Aka "Brain Man". He's a high-functioning autistic from Britain. In fact, the first time I saw him on TV, they didn't mention he was autistic right away, and I had no idea. He's very well spoken and thoughtful, and you'd never know there was anything wrong. Anyway, he's an extreme rarity (probably the only one in the world) who is brilliant like Rain Man, but high-functioning enough to be able to describe HOW he thinks, and the thought processes he uses. Most austistic savants are too handicapped to be able to give any real insight to how they think, but Tammet can.

He says he "sees" numbers in his head in the form of shapes and colors. Each number has a distinct shape and color. And when you give him two numbers to multiply or ask him the square root, they form a new shape and color, and he sees the answer instantly. .

And he accepted a challenge to see if he could go to Iceland, and learn the Icelandic language in 7 days, then go on a talk show and conduct an interview in Icelandic. He had a tutor who said there was no way he could do it, because Icelandic is known to be one of the hardest languages to learn, especially for an English speaker because there are so many sounds and letters that are completely different. And he was able to do it, it was amazing.

Here's a 6 minute video about the challenge to learn Icelandic in 1 week...

And here is a great story about him on "60 Minutes"...


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