Twenty-five years ago, Morely Safer’s 60 Minutes, introduced viewers to George Finn, who many believed was immortalized in the movie “Rain Man”.
However, Kim Peek was the real life Rain Man on whom the Dustin Hoffman character of Raymond Babbitt was based in the movie.
Described as a confounding mixture of disability and brilliance, Kim was in love with knowledge and was probably the world’s most famous savant. He has even been referred to as a mega-savant due to the astounding volume of data he managed to accumulate over his lifetime.
Both George Finn and Kim Peek were diagnosed with a condition known as savant syndrome, a mysterious disorder of the brain where someone has a spectacular skill, even genius, in a mind that is otherwise extremely limited.
Years later, Morley Safer met another savant, Daniel Tammet, who is called “Brain Man” in Britain. But unlike other savants, he has no obvious mental disability, and most important to scientists, he can describe his own thought process.
He may very well be a scientific Rosetta stone, a key to understanding the secrets of the brain at long last.
In this remarkable video interview, Daniel Tammet describes how an otherwise normal childhood suddenly changed after he experienced an epileptic seizure at the age of four. Something very strange happened in his brain.
It seemed to have somehow been rewired…giving him amazing powers of calculation that seem eerily intuitive, bypassing any sort of an internal computational process.
Instead, the answers to problems that would normally require a computer to solve, simply appear to him as visions–in extraordinary detail.