some of them become mathematicians like Gauss and Ampère, while others continue all their lives what they were in the beginning, simply specialists in figures. We do not know whether this distinction arises in the nature of things, or simply results from the chances of life. Very good minds think there is a relation between the calculating faculty and mathematical talent, and believe that, if these prodigies were intelligently given a special education, they might most of them become remarkable mathematicians. Experiment has not given a definite result on this point. M. Inaudi has determined not to go to the mathematical school, but will preserve and develop his natural gifts. Another question arises as to the influence of heredity in these cases. For a long time physicians have been accustomed, when an abnormal combination of talents appears in a particular person, to find a number of special characteristics in his family. Sometimes these have appeared through several generations, as in certain noted families of musicians and naturalists. Sometimes the peculiarity appears in the shape of eccentricity. No such peculiar family traits have been found associated with M. Inaudi, nor any special antecedents in himself. He has never been ill, and his development has been normal.
The study of M. Inaudi has been fruitful for psychology. On one side it has brought a remarkable confirmation to the theory of partial memories; and on another side it has made us familiar with a new form of mental calculation, the auditive form. It may also have taught us something else. We have found that it is possible for some faculties, like memory, to acquire an extent double and triple that of the normal. The fact permits us to descry in how large a measure the human mind is still capable of improvement.—Translated for The Popular Science Monthly from the Revue des Deux Mondes.