World best memorizer obituary – Kim Peek died.
Today I had a sad news, the “Kimputer” had died about a month ago. I though about posting or not the news – It doesn’t have much relationship with SuperMemo… then I understood -He probably had the most prodigious memory ever, how can this not be related to SuperMemo.
They called him Mega-savant, yet before “Rain Man” movie, starting Dustin Hoffman, they just called him Kim. He was the model for the autistic character Raymond Babbitt in the 1988 film Rain Man.
He was born with many disabilities and by the time he was nine months old he was expected to be mentally impaired for life, yet he learned to read by himself, and later on to memorize every book he read. He memorized the entire Bible before his seventh birthday, later on he improve even more, reading and immediately memorizing thousands of texts, including the complete works of Shakespeare and every story in every volume of the condensed Reader’s Digest books.
He used telephone directories for exercises in mental arithmetic, adding each column of seven-digit numbers together in his head until he reached figures in the trillions.
As an adult he was named as a “mega-savant” because of this tremendous memorizing capacity, having a retention of 98 per cent of the information he absorbed. He was considered by researcher as a genius in at least 15 subjects, including music, geography, history and mathematics. Most savants reach a similar level in one or two subjects. His powers increased as he aged, sadly the “Kimputer” died on December 19 at aged 58 from a heart attack.
The exceptional savant abilities where the reason I read much about him, who wouldn’t want to be able to learn almost effortless, but I was also inspired to read about autism and learned to be more compassionate with people with disabilities.
If you want to know about the real Kim Peek, in 1996 Fran Peek published a book about his son, The Real Rain Man: Kim Peek.
A more extensive obituary is found here.