In October of 2009, The Ohlone College Psychology Club hosted a discussion with Kim Peek, the man who was the inspiration for Dustin Hoffman's character in the movie "Rain Man." Although the film portrayed a man with Autism, Kim did not fit that classification. He had some unusual differences, including agenesis of the corpus collosum and structural damage from several childhood strokes. Scientists do not yet understand how these may have related to his abilities, but it's clear that Kim's memory was unsurpassed. One of only 50 known MegaSavants in the entire world, he read at lightening speed, and retained about 98% of what he read, saw, or heard. He amassed a vast encyclopedia-like database of knowledge that would fill several hard drives - thus his nickname "Kimpedia."
Kim passed away from complications due to pneumonia on December 19th, 2009. I, for one, felt honored to have gotten the opportunity to know someone with such an extraordinary brain. The first time I met Kim, I introduced myself and joked, "Now, don't forget me." He smiled, and I was treated to one of Kim's trademark hugs. As we chatted, Kim asked for my address, and then began to recite local roads and their cross-streets from the venue to my house (Kim had memorized all of the streets and highways in the United States), and ended with one of his pat phrases, "You have been made known like a man of greatness and love." But he then added, "And your name is Sheldon." Everyone around laughed and applauded, including Kim.
Click the image below to watch a documentary on Kim: