Thursday, January 8, 2009

"Gotta Leave The Table, Must Leave The Table"

This article is called 'Inside The Mind of An Autistic Savant' and it is every bit as good as it sounds.

It's an interview with the dude who attained some fame by being able to recite Pi to 22, 514 places - from memory. He followed that up with learning how to speak Icelandic. In a week.


But how do you visualise a number? In the same way that I visualise a giraffe?

Every number has a texture. If it is a "lumpy" number, then immediately my mind will relate it to other numbers which are lumpy - the lumpiness will tell me there is a relationship, there is a common divisor, or a pattern between the digits.

Can you give an example of a "lumpy" number?

For me, the ideal lumpy number is 37. It's like porridge. So 111, a very pretty number, which is 3 times 37, is lumpy but it is also round. It takes on the properties of both 37 and 3, which is round. It's an intuitive and visual way of doing maths and thinking about numbers.

To revise: the number 37 is lumpy, like porridge.

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