December 22, 2009

Kim Peek died

I guess everybody found out today that megasavant Kim Peek died of a heart attack this past Saturday. Although he may have been mostly known for being the "original Rain Man", and from diverse TV documentaries, he should be remembered for how he managed the many adversities of his condition, with great help from his father Fran, and helped us to understand how the brain works.

Fellow savant Daniel Tammet says it best:

Kim was a remarkable human being, blessed with astonishing mental gifts; he also battled numerous handicaps throughout his life. At the same time, he was funny, provocative, and down-to-earth. I remember fondly how he regaled me (and the documentary’s film crew) with all manner of facts and jokes, tunes and anecdotes. When I interviewed his father Fran, he was unsurprisingly extremely proud of his son, and vividly described Kim’s history and current life, which included much travel across the States with the important message that difference needn’t be a disability, because everyone’s different.

Read the entire post at Daniel Tammet's blog.

Kim Peek's mind was truly remarkable. He had memorized thousands of books, reading the right page with the right eye and the left page with the left eye, and could recount innumerable facts and trivia from them. He also enjoyed impressing an audience by accurately calculating the weekday of their birth, or indeed of any of their future birthdays. The most striking anatomical feature of his brain was the complete lack of the major lines of communication between the two hemispheres, the corpus callosum and the anterior commissure.

You can read all about Kim Peek and watch several excerpts from his many media appearances on the website of Dr. Darold Treffert at the Wisconsin Medical Society. Dr. Treffert is the savant researcher with whom father and son Peek collaborated for many years.

Kim Peek was 58 years old.

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1 comment:

  1. Kim was an inspiration, so was also his incredible father who stood by him his entire life. I'm not particulary religous, however I recognise an Angel as I'm shown one. I wish him peace and joy as he travels among us a little bit further in life


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