Next meeting October 25 – Computer Graphics, Visual Thinkers and the Dyslexic Advantage

“Computer Graphics, Visual Thinkers and the Dyslexic Advantage”

A talk by Thomas G. West, author of In the Mind’s Eye and Thinking Like Einstein

When: Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Where: US Patent and Trademark Office –  link to map:


DC_SIGGRAPH invites you to hear a talk by Thomas West, author of In the Mind’s Eye and Thinking Like Einstein.

With computer graphics in all its forms, the world is changing and becoming more visual — as a word-based traditional educational system ignores the talents of visual thinkers and smart people with dyslexia. Indeed, dyslexia is coming to be seen, remarkably, as a significant advantage in an increasing number of fields — often linked to success in design innovation, entrepreneurial business and scientific discovery.

In the field of computer graphics, animation and simulation, dyslexic artists and technologists are often leading innovators. One of the founders of the modern study of molecular biology was dyslexic and described how he used his powerful visual imagination  to see new patterns and develop fundamental insights (twelve years ahead of all others in the field) into the links between the genetic code and the immune system. Later, a different scientist proved experimentally that he was right and received a Nobel Prize. The US National Science Foundation is currently funding a Harvard-Smithsonian study of when and where dyslexia may be an advantage in doing science, especially within astrophysics. A world famous professor of paleontology tries to teach his graduate students how to think like a dyslexic so they can see patterns invisible to others, long thought impossible. The rest is “just memorization,” he says, without innovation or significant discovery.

Thomas G. West is the author of In the Mind’s Eye–Creative Visual Thinkers, Gifted Dyslexics and the Rise of Visual Technologies (Prometheus Books), selected as one of the “best of the best” for the year by the American Library Association (one of only 13 books in their broad psychology, psychiatry and neuroscience category). A second edition was released in September 2009 with Foreword by Oliver Sacks, MD, who states: “In the Mind’s Eye brings out the special problems of people with dyslexia, but also their strengths, which are so often overlooked.  Its accent is not so much on pathology as on how much human minds vary. It stands alongside Howard Gardner’s Frames of Mind as a testament to the range of human talent and possibility.”

In the Mind’s Eye was published in Japanese translation in as Geniuses Who Hated School. A Chinese translation was published in 2004. A Korean translation will be available in late 2011. In connection with In the Mind’s Eye and his other writings, Mr. West has been invited to provide presentations for scientific, medical, art, design, computer and business groups in the U.S. and overseas, including groups in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Hong Kong, Taiwan and twelve European countries.

For years West wrote a column, “Images and Reversals,” on the broad effects of visualization technologies for Computer Graphics, a quarterly publication of the international professional association for computer graphics artists and technologists (ACM-SIGGRAPH — an organization with many creative, visual-thinking dyslexics). These columns were collected into a book with the title: Thinking Like Einstein–Returning to Our Visual Roots with the Emerging Revolution in Computer Information Visualization.

West is now working on a third book, this one dealing with visual thinking, new visual technologies, high level creativity and role of brain diversity (including dyslexia, Aspergers syndrome and other alternative modes of learning and thinking) in several leading-edge entrepreneurial businesses as well as several individual scientists and technological innovators (including one British family with many visual thinkers, many dyslexics and four Nobel Laureates).

Based in Washington, DC, West has given talks on similar themes in recent years in places such as: Oxford University, Magdalen College (est. 1458), June 11, 2010; two talks for the Malta Dyslexia Association, in Malta, June 25, 2010; and a talk given at the University of California at Berkeley, February 2, 2011, among others. West has been associated with ACM-SIGGRAPH and DC-SIGGRAPH for many years.

One thought on “Next meeting October 25 – Computer Graphics, Visual Thinkers and the Dyslexic Advantage”

Comments are closed.