Sunday, November 4, 2007

Daniel Tammet - The Incredible Brain

This is the breathtaking story of Daniel Tammet. A twenty-something with extraordinary mental abilities, Daniel is one of the world’s few savants (23 known). He can do calculations to beyond 100 decimal places in his head, and learn a language in a week. This documentary follows Daniel as he travels to America to meet the scientists who are convinced he may hold the key to unlocking similar abilities in everyone. He also meets the world’s most famous savant, the man who inspired Dustin Hoffman’s character in the Oscar winning film ‘Rain Man’.

Daniel Paul Tammet (b. January 31, 1979; London, England) is a British high-functioning autistic savant gifted with a facility for mathematical calculations, sequence memory, and natural language learning. He was born with congenital childhood epilepsy. Furthermore, Tammet, who was diagnosed at age 25 with Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism.

Tammet holds the European record for memorising and recounting pi to 22,514 digits in just over five hours.

Tammet speaks a variety of 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 and his domestic partner, software engineer Neil Mitchell, have been together for six years. They live together in Kent where they have a quiet regimented life at home with their cats, prepare their meals from their garden, and prefer their privacy. Tammet and Mitchell together operate the online e-learning company, Optimnem, where they create and publish language courses. Tammet has publicly discussed his relationship with Mitchell, his savant abilities, and his sexual orientation. Tammet first became aware of his homosexuality at age 11.

Daniel's official website:

Daniel on Letterman
NY Times

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