Daniel Tammet is an autistic savant. He can perform mind-boggling mathematical calculations at breakneck speeds. But unlike other savants, who can perform similar feats, Tammet can describe how he does it. Now scientists are asking whether his exceptional abilities are the key to unlock the secrets of autism.
He doesn’t calculate these math problems in his head. He is immediately shown the answer. It started at the age of three after an epileptic seizure.
Since his epileptic fit, he has been able to see numbers as shapes, colours and textures. The number two, for instance, is a motion, and five is a clap of thunder. "When I multiply numbers together, I see two shapes. The image starts to change and evolve, and a third shape emerges. That’s the answer." (Fantastic Story and Interview in the Guardian)