INNUMERATE VS GENIUS
You have difficulties telling the time, calculating the cost of your groceries in the supermarket, or taking in the train timetable. Acalculia – inability to learn, remember, or even understand
numbers and mathematics – makes everyday life quite difficult. The condition affects about 6% of the population, and the cause is in the brain. Those people's cerebral number centres are usually rather small, as they include fewer neurons.
In 2007, Alexis Lemaire of France set a world record, taking only 70 seconds to calculate the 13th root of
a 200-digit number – the number that – multiplied by itself 13 times – results in the 200-digit number. Like other people with extreme maths skills, Lemaire probably has number centres that include unusually high numbers of nerve cells. However, he claims that with sufficient practice, anybody can learn how to do it.