Michio Kaku: The Supergenius; Asperger syndrome, autism, savants

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Dr. Michio Kaku returns to Big Think studios to discuss his latest book, The Future of the Mind. Here Dr. Kaku discusses Asperger syndrome, autism, savants, Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton… and the characters on CBS’ The Big Bang Theory. This video made us think of Michael Burry and others, check it out.

Michio Kaku: The Supergenius

Michio Kaku: Transcript

If you watch the Big Bang Theory on CBS television you see these clueless nerds who are doormats when ti comes to the opposite sex, right. And you realize is there any basis in reality? First of all none of my friends are like that and all my friends are physicists, right. Well there is a kernel of truth and that is some of these individuals may suffer from something called Asperger’s Syndrome which is a mild form of autism. These people are clueless when it comes to social interactions. They don’t look you in the eye, for example. And yet they have fantastic mental and mathematical capabilities.

We think, for example, that Isaac Newton had Asperger’s. The greatest scientist of all time was very strange. He had no friends to speak of. He could not carry a decent conversation and yet here he was spitting out some of the greatest theories in the history of science. Calculus. The Universal Law of Gravitation. The Theory of Optics. And we think he had Asperger’s Syndrome. Now Asperger’s Syndrome is a mild form of autism and in autism we have what are called savants. That is people that have an IQ of maybe 80 but have incredible mathematical and musical abilities. In fact, some of these individuals can hear one symphony and just play it by memory on a piano.

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