Seeing What Others Cannot See – 10/2/2017

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Thomas G. West
Author of Thinking Like Einstein and In the Mind’s Eye
Krasnow Institute Advisory Board Member

For over 25 years, Thomas West has been a leading advocate for the importance of visual thinking, visual technologies and the creative potential of individuals with dyslexia and other learning differences. In this new book, Seeing What Others Cannot See: The Hidden Advantages of Visual Thinkers and Differently Wired Brains, he investigates how different kinds of brains and different ways of thinking can help to make discoveries and solve problems in innovative and unexpected ways. West focuses on what he has learned over the years from a group of extraordinarily creative, intelligent and interesting people — strong visual thinkers and those with dyslexia, Asperger’s syndrome, and other different ways of thinking, learning and working.

Based on first-person accounts, West tells stories that include a dyslexic paleontologist in Montana, a special effects tech with Asperger’s syndrome who worked for Pink Floyd and Kiss, a group of dyslexic master code breakers in a British electronic intelligence organization, a Colorado livestock handling expert who has become a forceful advocate for those with autism and a family of visual thinkers and dyslexics in Britain that includes four winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics.

West is the author of the award-winning book In the Mind’s Eye: Creative Visual Thinkers, Gifted Dyslexics and the Rise of Visual Technologies and Thinking like Einstein: Returning to Our Visual Roots with the Emerging Revolution in Computer Information Visualization. In the Mind’s Eye was selected as one of the “best of the best” for the year by the Association of College and Research Libraries of the American Library Association. The book has been translated into Japanese, Chinese and Korean — and West has provided presentations for scientific, medical, art, design, computer and business groups in the U.S. and 19 foreign countries. According to the late Oliver Sacks, MD, In the Mind’s Eye is “a testament to the range of human talent and possibility.”

West’s invited presentations have included a meeting of 50 Max Planck Institutes in Göttingen, Germany, the first “Diversity Day” conference for the staff of GCHQ, the code-making and code-breaking descendants of Bletchley Park, in Cheltenham, England, scientists and artists at Green College and at Magdalen College within Oxford University, England, the international conference of computer graphic artists and technologists (ACM-SIGGRAPH) in Vancouver, BC, Canada, the International Symposium on Dyslexia in the Chinese Language organized by the Society of Child Neurology and Developmental Pediatrics in Hong Kong, the Educational Testing Service in Princeton, New Jersey, Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, California – and a Director’s Colloquium for scientists and staff of NASA Ames Research Center (at Moffett Field in California’s Silicon Valley).