From mullet to math genius after a concussionSusannah CahalanMath genius Jason Padgett says that a blow to the back of the head made him see the world in a completely different way. The drawing he made here is a visualization of Hawking radiation, which is emitted from a micro black hole. It took him nine months to complete.
When Jason Padgett pours cream into his morning coffee, this is what he sees:
“I watch the cream stirred into the brew. The perfect spiral is an important shape to me. It’s a fractal. Suddenly, it’s not just my morning cup of joe, it’s geometry speaking to me.”
Padgett’s world is bursting with mathematical patterns. He is one of a few people in the world who can draw approximations of fractals, the repeating geometric patterns that are building blocks of everything in the known universe, by hand. Tree leaves outside his window are evidence of Pythagoras’ theorem. The arc that light makes when it bounces off his car proves the power of pi.
He sees the parts that make up the whole. And his world is never boring, never without amazement. Even his dreams are made up of geometry.
He would race his buddies in a freshly painted red Camaro. His life was one adrenaline rush after another: cliff-jumping, sky-diving, bar-hopping. He was the “life of the party.” The guy who would funnel a beer before going out and would slip a bottle of Southern Comfort in his jacket pocket to avoid paying $6 for mixed drinks.
“I thought it would go on that way forever,” Padgett says.
Party time came to end the night of Friday, Sept. 13, 2002, at a karaoke bar near his home. There, two men attacked him from behind, punching him in the back of the head, knocking him unconscious.
He fell to the ground as the two men punched and kicked him, stopping only when he handed over his worthless jacket.
He was rushed to the hospital, where a CT scan revealed a bruised kidney. He was released that same night.
The next morning, while running the water in the bathroom, he noticed “lines emanating out perpendicularly from the flow. At first, I was startled, and worried for myself, but it was so beautiful that I just stood in my slippers and stared.”
When he extended his hand out in front of him, it was like “watching a slow-motion film,” as if every slight movement was in stop-motion animation.
Days went by, but the visuals remained.http://nypost.com/2014/04/20/how-a-brain-injury-turned-a-college-dropout-into-a-genius/