Monday, June 13, 2011

Extraordinary People - The Boy With The Incredible Brain

To describe a program as the most amazing thing I have ever seen, is quite a bold statement. But having watched the thing again, twice in the last twenty four hours, I still have no reason to contradict my original appraisal.

It was some years ago that I first came across 'Brainman' or to give it its UK title, 'The Boy With The Incredible Brain,' and was quite delighted when recently I came across a downloadable version. So having watched the thing yesterday evening, I was prompted to see if it was available on Youtube, sure enough it was, in four parts and about fifty minutes in total.

Daniel Tammet Wiki displayed some mind boggling feats of mental arithmetic, giving answers to questions asked to thirty two decimal places, the limit of the verifying computer, but stated that one hundred decimal places would be well within his extraordinary capabilities. On a further ''test'' he gave correctly, by rote, the value of Pi to 22,500 decimal places.

What made these achievements all the more amazing, is that Daniel Tammet doesn't see numbers as you or I might, but rather as pictures, shapes, patterns and textures.

The blurb that accompanied the clips below.

Many people learnt of Daniel for the first time through the award-winning documentary 'Brainman' (titled 'The Boy With The Incredible Brain' in the UK). Filmed in 2004, it shows Daniel reciting the famous mathematical constant Pi from memory to 22,514 digits -- a European record -- before travelling to the United States to be studied by brain scientists in California, beat the house at blackjack in Las Vegas and meet the original 'Rain Man' Kim Peek in Salt Lake City. Daniel is also given the challenge to learn a new language -- Icelandic -- from scratch in just seven days, before an interview in Reykjavik entirely in the home language.


Anonymous said...

Though behind my comprehension, in my opinion Daniel Tammet is a special blend of intellect and emotion, highly gifted, not autistic.

The documentary showed him meeting Kim Peek, a world famous savant. Peek was shown hugging Tammet telling him that "Some day you will be as great as I am." to which Tammet replied "That was a wonderful compliment, what an aspiration to have". Regarding Daniel I’d say, anything but autistic, not too sure about Peek.

Thanks for posting Himself, twice 333. M

Himself said...

I would agree Maren, Tammet is far from being autistic. As the program suggests, probably nothing more than a couple of crossed wires in what is a remarkable piece of kit in the first instance, the grey matter.

And how remarkable it really is, as much as Daniel's tutor said it was an impossibility to learn Icelandic, albeit over a much shorter period in Daniel's case, kids from the cradle up, learn their native language with ease, no matter how complex.

I did read somewhere that children's brains are at their susceptible peak for learning language from the earliest of ages, but if the opportunity is lost during those formative years, language skills become very poor on even non-existent.

Which brings us back to just how remarkable a piece of kit the brain is. The kids aren't ''clever'' at that age, but they can learn Icelandic, Dutch even!

Glad you enjoyed it.

Anonymous said...

('corrected' version)
I mean 'beyond' my comprehension of course. Since I cannot verify your interpretation of my 'comments' I wonder how often you have a giggle (now again?).
Well, women can learn, even English, and practice makes perfect.

Anonymous said...

Himself said...

Interesting story, thank you.

Anonymous said...


Himself said...

Ah so! At least he didn't send body parts through the mail.

I mention that because I watched a few minutes of Luka Rocco Magnotta, not the nasty video, but a few (silent) minutes of the bloke.

It was incredible really, when I say I have never seen anything like it in my life, I do mean that.

Narcissism radiated from the bloke, he quite literally bristled with it.

How much of a role Narcissism contributed to the rest of his mental health problems and subsequently his crimes, I don't know. But for all intents and purposes, he WAS Narcissus.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

The Netherlands is the only country where men and women have equal standards of English. In most countries, women have better language skills.

Now that’s what I call emancipation :D :D

Don’t tell AA