Science · Inspirational

Jason Padgett

“...a mathematical genius who sees the world through the lens of geometry.”

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When Jason Padgett was 31 he was a “goof” with zero interest in academics. The only time he dealt in numbers was to track the hours until his shift ended at his father’s furniture store, tally up his bar tab, or count bicep curls at the gym.

But in 2002, Jason was violently mugged outside of a karaoke bar. Two men attacked him from behind, punching him in the back of the head, knocking him unconscious. He was rushed to the hospital, where a CT scan revealed a profound concussion.

His resulting head injury caused him to see cascades of crystals when he turned on the water faucet, interlocking triangles when he looked at trees, and illuminated nets when the sun burst through the trees. He became a mathematics-obsessed hermit. He stopped going to work and began to read anything he could get his hands on about math and physics. He developed a fascination with fractals and pi.

Padgett is one of only 40 people in the world with “acquired ­savant syndrome,” a condition in which prodigious talents in math, art or music emerge in previously normal individuals following a brain injury or disease.

His newly-found vision inspired him to return to college, and also to create luminous “fractal drawings” to illustrate what he sees. His book Struck by Genius explains his experience and gives hints of the science behind it.

Participation in CDI:

  • 2015

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