Struck by Genius

Struck by Genius

How A Brain Injury Made Me A Mathematical Marvel

Book - 2014
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The astonishing true story of an average man transformed by one violent encounter

No one sees the world the way Jason Padgett does. Water pours from the faucet in crystalline patterns, each number has a distinct geometric shape, and fractal patterns emerge from the movement of tree branches and the swirl of cream in his coffee, revealing the mathematical patterns hidden in the objects around us.

The amazing thing is that Jason wasn't born this way. Twelve years ago, he was an ordinary guy, a jock who loved to party and had never made it past pre-algebra in high school. One night, a vicious blow to the head in an altercation profoundly and permanently altered the way his brain works. Jason would eventually learn his injury had made him an acquired savant and synesthete, someone whose blended sense perception causes such strange effects as the ability to taste shapes, hear colours and see numbers as geometric objects. Suddenly, Jason saw the world in a completely different way. As the first documented case of acquired savant syndrome with his particular type of mathematical synesthesia, Padgett is a medical marvel.

Struck by Genius recounts how Padgett overcame enormous setbacks and embraced his transformed mind. Along the way he found love, discovered joy in numbers and spent plenty of time having his head examined. His fascinating and inspiring story of the abilities that potentially lie hidden within us all reveals how much we still have to learn about the wondrous potential of the human brain.

Publisher: Toronto : HarperCollins, c2014.
ISBN: 9781443418157
Characteristics: ix, 243 pages, [8] pages of plates :,illustrations (some colour) ;,24 cm.
Additional Contributors: Seaberg, Maureen Ann

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FederalWayEdna Jun 19, 2015

I was concerned this biography may read as too technical but, Jason's description of his life from unremarkable to remarkable is surprisingly honest and down-to-earth. It's an interesting and intriguing read.

bibliotechnocrat Aug 20, 2014

After surviving a mugging involving brain trauma, Jason Pagett suddenly takes on Rain Man qualities (albeit without quite as severe social issues). Previously a party boy uninterested in math, academics, or other more serious pursuits, he suddenly sees the world in an entirely new way. He has both synthesia and acquired savantism.

The story of the mugging and his eventual (and miraculous) recovery is interesting as it raises so many questions about how perceptions develop, and how the brain is wired. However, as a narrative, it sags in several places. The voice is also a little unclear - perhaps due to the dual authorship.

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