Posted with permission from NJ.com Local
Other 'Superhuman' contestants demonstrate keen abilities in memory, smell, touch and hearing. (Michael Becker)
Other 'Superhuman' contestants demonstrate keen abilities in memory, smell, touch and hearing. (Michael Becker)

Dennis Just, an astronomy professor from Parsippany, took home $50,000 as winner of the latest installment of "Superhuman," the new Fox competition series dedicated to people with extraordinary abilities.

In his challenge, which aired on Monday, Just had to spot the differences between two grids containing 3,440 letters. He eyed the grids at some distance, and at first worried that his vision wouldn't be sharp enough to distinguish the minute variations in the letter sequences. 

"Well, ironically enough, I don't have the best eyesight," Just told host Kal Penn, a Montclair native, as he squinted behind his glasses. "That is a lot of letters." 

But Just, 33, was more than qualified for the task. He has what's called stereoscopic vision, which means he can use each of his eyes to simultaneously focus on different objects. 

"In fact, The Star-Ledger is a kind of part of it," Just told NJ Advance Media last week. Growing up in Morris County, he'd read the Sunday comics section and would instantly notice the differences between the panels in each comic.

"Basically I split up the work of my eyes," he said, making him an unstoppable force in a game of Photo Hunt. And sure enough, he didn't falter once in swiftly reporting the three tiny differences between the two grids. 

An astronomy professor at the University of Arizona (no, he doesn't really use his special ability to do the job, he says), Just, who lives in Tucson, is one of two "Superhuman" contestants from New Jersey with stereoscopic vision. 

The other is Jeff Hollis of Wood-Ridge, who will compete in the July 31 season finale of the show, which debuted as a special last year and is based on the German series "The Brain," or "Super Brain," which has expanded to countries including China. 

In the show, panelists Mike Tyson, Jersey City's Christina Milian and Rahul Jandial, a neurosurgeon and neuroscientist, select the top three contestants. Milian called Just "handsome" and compared the bespectacled contestant to Clark Kent before the panel selected him as one of the top three and the studio audience voted him top "Superhuman."

Just bested four other contestants, including a Rubik's Cube whiz, a teen with a top-notch memory and a woman with ultra-keen muscle memory, to take the $50,000 prize. 

 

  

Amy Kuperinsky may be reached at akuperinsky@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @AmyKup or on Facebook.