Friday, November 11, 2011

Anatomy Audit & Savant Story 3

Daniel Tammet is what is known as a prodigious savant; he can effortlessly compute vast sums in his head. He pictures numbers as mental shapes with different colors, patterns, motions, and even emotional and perceptual connotations. While he is on the autistic scale and has been diagnosed with Asberger's syndrome, he is very highly functioning. Unlike most savants, who are unable to communicate due to the severity of their autism, Tammet is able to vividly describe what it is like living with a mind like his. I am reading his book Born on a Blue Day, and I will be mentioning on my blog some of the interesting things that I read. Some days it will be about Daniel Tammet, while other days it might be about another savant story mentioned in his book. Here is today's excerpt:
When Daniel Tammet divides one number by another, he sees a pattern in his head of downward rotating spirals that get larger, curving and warping as they go. Different division problems make different patterns and sizes of spirals. By creating these mental pattern representations of numbers, his brain can intuitively and effortlessly "calculate" divisions like 13/97 (0.1340206...) to almost a hundred decimal places.

Today I got permission to audit an Anatomy lecture three times a week this coming semester!! My wife enjoyed this particular professor's style during lab last year, and this morning I got his official permission to sit in on his class. I'm really excited! I've dabbled in Netter's incredible work before, but I've never had the chance to take an anatomy course before. Plus, I'll just be auditing, so I won't have to do any of the homework, and nothing will stress me out. I'll even get to take the exams, and won't have to sweat it one bit! We'll see how I do without studying more than I want to in my "leisure" time... If nothing else, it will be a good introduction to the terminology (Latin! I wonder if my experience in Spanish will help me make connections and remember things...) and complexity before I hit the break-neck pace of medical school next year. Plus, Ax (you know who you are) will be taking the class, and Ar is considering auditing as well, so I might even have some buddies to sit next to.

Any suggestions if you've taken Anatomy before? What helped you absorb the most information at the fastest pace?

This'll be fun.

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