Head injury makes average man a genius mathematician


Washington: An injury in a head can make a normal person, abnormal. But in the case of Jason Padgett, 41, a head injury has made him a mathematician of one of a kind.

He began to see complex mathematical formulae everywhere he looked, after a head injury. For now, he works in a futon store in Tacoma, Washington, but surely not for long. His genius is bound to lead him elsewhere in life.

Interestingly, for his level of intelligence Jason has no college degree, let alone a PhD. He doesn’t even have a background in math; just 10 years ago he was a very different person. He had what was going to be done with him.

A bunch of muggers assaulted him on his way home and kicked his head many a time. “All I saw was a bright flash of light and the next thing I knew I was on my knees on the ground and I thought, ‘I’m going to get killed,’” he says. But he didn’t. Instead, he got the best gift from God.

Doctors said he would be all right soon. But they were wrong as he became more than normal. As a person who could never draw, he suddenly began to create intricate diagrams not even knowing what they were.

Everywhere he looked, he could see mathematical formulae represented in the various shapes. “I see bits and pieces of the Pythagorean theorem everywhere. Every single little curve, every single little spiral, every tree is part of that equation.”

The drawings he makes are known as fractals – “A shape that when you take apart into pieces, the pieces are the same or similar to the whole. So say I had 1,000 pictures of you that were little and I put all those little pictures of you in the right spot to make the exact same picture of you, but bigger,” he said.