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Brain Injury Turns Man Into Math Genius 208

mpicpp sends in the story of Jason Padgett, a man who developed extraordinary mathematical abilities as the result of brain trauma when he was attacked outside a bar. "Padgett, a furniture salesman from Tacoma, Wash., who had very little interest in academics, developed the ability to visualize complex mathematical objects and physics concepts intuitively. The injury, while devastating, seems to have unlocked part of his brain that makes everything in his world appear to have a mathematical structure 'I see shapes and angles everywhere in real life' — from the geometry of a rainbow, to the fractals in water spiraling down a drain, Padgett told Live Science." "He describes his vision as 'discrete picture frames with a line connecting them, but still at real speed.' If you think of vision as the brain taking pictures all the time and smoothing them into a video, it's as though Padgett sees the frames without the smoothing. "
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Brain Injury Turns Man Into Math Genius

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  • by Bryan Ischo ( 893 ) * on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @06:12PM (#46934395) Homepage

    Can someone explain to me exactly what is so marvelous about what this dude can supposedly "see"?

    A google search reveals a history of his story popping up from time to time - probably whenever he can find a venue to promote himself, and whenever sites like Slashdot get duped into posting about him - but I found nothing that describes anything that he's actually able to intuit about math since this injury other than a bunch of crap about how he can 'see mathematical patterns' now. Awesome - so how about parlaying that into any statement that demonstrates any extraordinary grasp of math? Because in all my searching, I haven't found this dude to have ever said anything that anyone couldn't easily just make up.

    I also found this comical link to "End of Pi Found" on some Physics forum:

    http://lofi.forum.physorg.com/... [physorg.com]

    Not sure if it's the same guy but it was posted by a Jason Padgett who says he is a "math/physics student in Washington state", and the Jason Padgett in the article is supposedly from Tacoma, Washington. Note that the post was from 2008 and the article that Slashdot has linked to describes Padgett as a "sophomore in college". Some math genius - still a sophomore in college 6 years later!

    Slashdot, why do you waste my time with this crap?

    I swear, Slashdot editors are worse than the patent office; they don't do even he smallest amount of verification before rubber stamping what is presented to them and pushing it out.

  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@nosPAm.gmail.com> on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @06:19PM (#46934461) Homepage Journal
    Isn't this the plot of the 1996 John Travolta vehicle Phenomenon [wikipedia.org]?
  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @07:12PM (#46934937) Homepage Journal

    Under the conditions he specifies, Pi does have an end. He makes it clear he means as seen in the physical world where it is bound by the Planck length. He may or may not realize that mathematicians prefer to have as little as possible to do with the physical world, at least professionally.

"I shall expect a chemical cure for psychopathic behavior by 10 A.M. tomorrow, or I'll have your guts for spaghetti." -- a comic panel by Cotham