His 2006 memoir, Born on a Blue Day, about his life with high-functioning autism and savant syndrome, was named a "Best Book for Young Adults" in 2008 by the American Library Association. Tammet's second book, Embracing the Wide Sky, was one of France's best selling books of 2009. Thinking in Numbers, Tammet's third book, was published by Hodder in the UK on 16 August 2012, and by Little, Brown in the United States and Canada on 30 July 2013. His books have been published in 20 languages. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2012.
Experiencing numbers as colors or sensations is a well-documented form of synesthesia, but the detail and specificity of Tammet's mental imagery of numbers is unique.
In his mind, he says, each positive integer up to 10,000 has its own unique shape, colour, texture and feel. He has described his visual image of 289 as particularly ugly, 333 as particularly attractive, and pi, though not an integer, as beautiful. The number 6 apparently has no distinct image yet what he describes as an almost small nothingness, opposite to the number 9 which he calls large, towering, and quite intimidating. In his memoir, Tammet states experiencing a synaesthetic, and emotional response for numbers and words.
Tammet was born Daniel Paul Corney and raised in Barking, East London, England, the eldest of nine children. He suffered epileptic seizures as a young child, which he subsequently outgrew following medical treatment. At age twenty-five, he was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome by Professor Simon Baron-Cohen of the Autism (Spectrum) Research Centre at Cambridge University. Tammet is one of fewer than a hundred "prodigious savants" according to Dr. Darold Treffert, the world's leading researcher in the study of savant syndrome.
Tammet twice participated in the World Memory Championships in London under his birth name, placing 12th in 1999 and 4th in 2000.
He changed his birth name by deed poll because "it didn't fit with the way he saw himself." He took the word Tammet from the Estonian for 'oak tree'.
Tammet was the subject of a documentary film entitled (in the UK) The Boy with the Incredible Brain, first broadcast on the British television station Channel 4 on 23 May 2005.
Tammet holds the European record for memorizing and recounting pi to 22,514 digits in just over five hours. He is also a polyglot - capable of learning new languages very quickly, and speaks a variety of languages including English, French, Finnish, German, Spanish, Lithuanian, Romanian, Estonian, Icelandic, Welsh and Esperanto. He particularly likes Estonian, because it is rich in vowels. Tammet is creating a new language called Mänti:
From his blog...
'Mänti' is a created language I have worked on since I was a child. I have a fascination with words and language and this is one form of expression for me that is very personal and creative. Quite often I have a sensation or feeling that I can't find a word in English (my native language) for, so I create one in Mänti.
The name of my language comes from the Finnish word for pine tree. I chose this word because I love trees and they grow copiously in parts of Scandinavia, and I have a particular fondness for the languages of Scandinavia. Many of my words have a Scandinavian or Baltic look to them.
One of my favourite Mänti words is kellokült which means 'lateness' or 'tardiness'. Its literal translation is 'clock debt' or 'clock guilt'.
To prove his language capabilities for the Channel Five documentary, Tammet was challenged to learn Icelandic in one week. Seven days later he appeared on Icelandic television conversing in Icelandic, with his Icelandic language instructor saying it was "not human."
|Daniel Tammet and Jérôme Tabet | Source|
Tammet met his first partner, software engineer Neil Mitchell, in 2000. Tammet lived with him in Kent, where they had a quiet life at home with their cats, preparing meals from their garden. Tammet and Mitchell operated the online e-learning company Optimnem, where they created and published language courses.
Tammet now lives with a new partner, Jérôme Tabet, a French photographer whom he met while promoting his autobiography. Although he has said that he did not think he would be here if it were not for the love and support of Mitchell, more recently he noted that he used to live a rigid existence aimed at calming his many anxieties—"I was very happy, but it was a small happiness"—whereas now, as the subtitle of Embracing the Wide Sky: A tour across the horizons of the mind asserts, he believes that we ought to seek to liberate our brains—a belief reflected in his new life:
My life used to be very simple and regimented but since then I have travelled constantly and given lots of lectures and it just changed me... It made me much more open, much more interested in, I guess, the full potential of what my mind could do... Because of that change I grew and in a sense I grew apart from my long-term partner, so we parted amicably in 2007, and a short while later I met my current partner, who is from France so I decided to go and live with him in Avignon.
Source(s): wikipedia | oddee