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Daniel Paul Tammet (born January 31, 1979, London, England) is a British autistic savant, gifted with a facility for mathematics problems, sequence memory, and natural language learning. He was born with congenital childhood epilepsy.
Experiencing numbers as colors or sensations is a well-documented form of synesthesia, but the detail and specificity of Tammet's mental imagery of numbers is unique. In his mind, he says, each number up to 10,000 has its own unique shape and feel, that he can "see" results of calculations as landscapes, and that he can "sense" whether a number is prime or composite. He has described his visual image of 289 as particularly ugly, 333 as particularly attractive, and pi as beautiful. Tammet can not only verbally describe these visions, yet creates artwork, particularly watercolor paintings, such as his most famous painting to date, "Pi".
Tammet was the subject of a documentary in the UK entitled The Boy With The Incredible Brain, which was first broadcast on the British television Channel 5 on May 24, 2005. The documentary showed highlights of his pi recitation feat, and his meeting with Kim Peek, another individual famous for having savant skills. In one emotional moment of the show, Peek hugged Tammet and told him, "Some day you will be as great as I am."
Tammet holds the European record for memorizing and recounting pi to 22,514 digits in just over five hours. This sponsored charity challenge was held in aid of the National Society for Epilepsy (NSE) on “Pi Day”, March 14, 2004, at the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford, UK. The NSE was chosen to benefit from this event because of Tammet's experience with epilepsy as a young child. Professor Allan Snyder at the Australian National University said of Tammet: "Savants can't usually tell us how they do what they do. It just comes to them. Daniel can. He describes what he sees in his head. That's why he's exciting. He could be the 'Rosetta Stone'."
Language mastery Edit
He can speak languages including English, French, Finnish, German, Spanish, Lithuanian, Romanian, Estonian, Icelandic, Welsh and Esperanto. He particularly likes Estonian, because it is rich in vowels. Tammet is creating a new language called Mänti. Mänti has many features related to Finnish and Estonian, both of which are Finno-ugric languages. Some sources credit Tammet as creating the Uusisuom and Lapsi languages as well.
Tammet is capable of learning new languages very quickly. To prove this for a Channel Five documentary, Tammet was challenged to learn the Icelandic language in one week, a language with a popular reputation as one of the world's most difficult languages to learn. Seven days later he appeared on Icelandic television conversing in Icelandic, with his Icelandic language instructor saying it was "not human." Segments of the interview, showing Tammet responding to questions in Icelandic, were televised on the American News show 60 Minutes.
Born on a Blue DayEdit
In 2006, Tammet traveled to the United States to promote his memoir, Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant. While in the US, he appeared on several television and radio talk shows and specials, including 60 Minutes. In February, 2007, Born on a Blue Day was serialized as BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week in the United Kingdom.
Business career and personal life Edit
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Morely Safer. "Brain Man", CBS News, 28 Jan 2007. Retrieved on 2007-02-02.
- ↑ Template:Cite video
- ↑ Pi memory feat. Oxford University (15 Mar 2004). Retrieved on 2007-02-02.
- ↑ Pi in the Sky - New European Record Set. Pi World Ranking List (15 Mar 2004). Retrieved on 2007-02-02.
- ↑ Richard Johnson. "A genius explains", The Guardian, 12 Feb 2005. Retrieved on 2007-03-10.
- ↑ Uusisuom. Langmaker. Retrieved on 2007-02-02.
- ↑ The Hardest Language to Learn Survey. Language Learning Advisor (31 Oct 2006). Retrieved on 2007-02-28.
- ↑ The Hardest Language Poll. Hypography Science Forums. Retrieved on 2007-02-28.
- ↑ Tammet, Daniel (2006). Born on a Blue Day. UK: Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 978-0340899748. ISBN 978-1416535072 (US)
- ↑ Scott, Caroline. "A Life in the Day", Times Online, 13 August 2006. Retrieved on 2007-03-10.
- A Look at an Autistic Savant's Brilliant Mind from NPR's Talk of the Nation
- Brainman program from The Science Channel
- Optimnem, Tammet's e-learning company
- Video excerpt from Daniel Tammet, the Brainman documentary
- Daniel, the Incredible Brain
- 60 Minutes report on Daniel Tammet
- Brain Man Yahoo! News
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