11:23 AM EST, December 24, 2014
Original Airdate: 04/25/2014
How did a college dropout become a math genius? It's a case that's making history.
Jason Padgett once delighted in showing off his goofy mullet.
INSIDE EDITION’s Diane McInerney asked him, "How would you characterize yourself before the incident?"
"Chased girls, drink, and lift weights, six days a week," he said.
But that all changed one night when two muggers jumped him for his jacket.
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He said, "They attacked me from behind, all I saw was a flash bright light. Next thing I know, I was on my knees just getting beat."
Emergency room doctors in Tacoma, Washington, diagnosed Jason with a severe concussion, but something much more complex was going on.
He said, "Everything looked completely different, and it looked beautiful."
Jason began to draw out the images he was seeing. After those blows to his head, he had become one of a handful of people in the world who could draw fractals—the repeating geometric patterns that are the building blocks of everything in the universe. Somehow the blows to his head had rewired his brain.
Jason is one of only 40 people in the world with "Acquired-Savant Syndrome," a condition in which talents in math, art, or music emerge in previously normal individuals following a brain injury.
He has written a book about his experience called Struck by Genius.
Ordinary people turning into overnight geniuses was the subject of the 1996 movie
Phenomenon, in which John Travolta played an auto mechanic blessed with telekinetic powers.
McInerney said to Jason, "So, you went from being what you consider an average goofball to what?"
He said, "To nothing but pondering pi, relativity, our movement through space time. What is space time?"
Jason may now be a genius, but he still works at his family's futon store.
INSIDE EDITION caught up with his dad, John, who said, "I think the brain did remap itself. He was never interested in math. I could never draw a good stick man, neither could he."
Jason Padgett, from mullet to math genius.