Daniel Tammet

Daniel Tammet Multiplies

Daniel Tammet is a functional autistic savant with synesthesia. He knows 10 languages and can learn a new one in a week. He holds the European record for Pi digits memorized–22,514. For him, each number up to 10,000 has shape, color, even emotion. Squared numbers are symmetrical. Primes are smooth and round, like “pebbles on a beach.” Most incredible is how he multiplies, shown above. He pictures the shapes for two numbers side-by-side in his mind. Between them, in the negative space, a new shape forms. That’s the shape of the result.

WHAT??? For that to work, each number (like, up to 10,000) needs to be properly shaped such that multiplying any other number by it creates the right shape. This seems to mean these shapes follow some bizarre set of rules that I doubt Daniel could have created subconsciously. I dunno. This completely blows my mind.

Give him a google, a youtube, or listen to him on NPR, which also has the first chapter of his book (which I’ve read—interesting, easy read).


~ by hobzcalvin on May 3, 2007.

4 Responses to “Daniel Tammet”

  1. I have done a small research on the “topic” Daniel Tammet yesterday, and as i was in my bed with a pen & paper, i focused on remenbering all that i saw today. 2 things did intrigue me, and i could only test 1 of them. This multiplication with bare images is just that thing.

    Follow the rationale, ok guys?

    If all you need to do is to take the negative space between the 2 shapes of the multipliers, then it could be broke down to one of my favorite math calculations: the squared operation.

    Imagine a number, A.

    A x A = A^2 = B

    But in this shape multiplication, it should come that

    A x A = B so that the A – B – A images fit each other like a continuous space. If this was to be true, what about when i do B x B = ??

    Imagine it comes out a C.

    That C has to be equal to A.

    I did it on my paint and on paper, but i don’t know how to publish the image here.

    Should you want to criticize me, reply, or even talk to me about this , feel free to mail TDFSILVA@NETCABO.PT.

    The 2nd thing that intrigued me was not covered in the topic.
    I would like to know how he sees the shapes of the numbers:
    1 2 4 8 16
    Since the binary system is the only true numeric system that is logical to any race (we have a decimal system due to having 10 fingers) and for that, the brain should be prepared for that.

    Should it be that his brain chose the decimal places, and that he like pi so much, i would like to know how he draws 300, 310 and 314.

    You know those numbers right? Those are 100 times pi, after rounding in small size.

    His brain created the image thingie due to synestesia, but i don’t feel like the smaller then 1 numbers (don’t know how to say this in english, sorry) would follow the same rules. People don’t realize this , but numbers smaller then 1 are kinda kinky / hard / different.

    Well, that is all. thanks for reading.

    Cya all later,
    Tiago Silva

  2. The question concerning how he shapes these numbers to determine answers in multiplication might not have any sets of rules at all.
    In his book he describes dividing as a falling, rotating screw; the answers seemingly being determined by the size of the rotation of that falling screw. He, in turn, isn’t doing any calculating at all. His brain knows the answer but he himself isn’t doing any calculating (if you understand what I’m saying). These number shapes might not have rules in how they are designed but are simply how his brain pictures them. The negative space in the middle, therefore, isn’t following any rules either but is simply his synesthesia kicking in and giving him a shape. The shapes don’t have anything to do with the answer but is just what his brain shows him after his brain does the calculating for him (meaning his brain calculates it but he doesn’t know that it is).

  3. I have a question. If the middle shape is the multiple. How about addition ,subtraction and even division? Second, If it is just a flash( like 1) or a smog, What kind of shapes can be created?

  4. Its just the way his mind works and we are trying to figure out everything that goes on in it but how can we do this when we cant even truly understand what goes on exactly in our own mind.

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