Struck by Genius is a fascinating book about how a man becomes a math genius after a brutal mugging eleven years ago. Jason Padgett acquired synesthesia and savant syndrome after the accident. Jason is transformed from a carefree young man with a poor academic record into a person with a thirst for knowledge about math and science. There are negative things about Jason's brain injury. He is obsessed with germs and more open to bouts of depression because of his accident. His mathematical abilities seem to outweigh the negative aspects of his brain injury though.
Jason possesses an unique kind of synesthesia. It gives him the ability to assign a certain color with a certain number. He perceives something called fractal geometry in everything he encounters. Fractal geometry involves the repetition of a certain pattern. Jason also discusses examples of geometry in every day life like ripples in a water puddle during a rain storm. There is fractal geometry in the swirl of coffee in a cup and even in blood flow of veins in the body. I have never thought of real life examples of geometry before. There are math and science references in book that make me want to learn more. The Doppler effect is something that involves how a sound is perceived differently at two separate locations. The Pythagorean theorem involves something about the square root of sides being equal. I believe this theorem can used to construct buildings. Even though I did not formally study these concepts, I feel I learned something just by reading about it.
Jason is also a talented artist. This book includes some of his drawings. There is a drawing of a nautilus shell with triangles in it. There is a diamond shaped figure with circles in it. Jason's drawings attracted his wife Elena to him. Their easy going chemistry and loving relationship is something that I aspire to have some day with someone. I love the chapter about how Jason travels to his wife's home country of Russia to woo and convince her to marry him.
There is an invention called the creativity cap mentioned in this book. This cap sends electrical currents into the brains of people who do not have savant syndrome and it makes them smarter. In the example provided in this book, people who wore the creativity cap suddenly had the ability draw pictures more easily. I would love to use a creativity cap to become smarter. I am inspired by the life of Jason Padgett. His thirst for knowledge and his passion to share it is inspiring to me.
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