Science Channel - InSCIder

18 Nov

Inside the Twists and Turns of Albert Einstein's Brain

Scientists have long been looking at the brains of geniuses to determine what makes them so smart, but until now, they could never examine the brain of America’s greatest thinker—Albert Einstein. For a long while, that was thought to be almost impossible as the photographs Dr. Thomas Harvey took of Einstein’s brain shortly after his death in 1955 went missing for more than 55 years.

The brain itself was cut up into 240 chunks and while some remained preserved at the University Medical Center in Princeton, the whereabouts of the others have long become an unfortunate mystery. That means his brain as has never been analyzed in its entirety.


Decades later, 14 of those missing photographs were finally uncovered by the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Silver Spring, Md. (less than 10 minutes away from Discovery's headquarters!). Once researchers finally got their hands on them, what they found finally gave them a thorough insight into what made Einstein the mad but brilliant scientists that he was.

In short, as USA Today puts it, “it was better than yours.”

Related: Playlist - Brain & Intelligence

Scientists found that while the size and shape were normal, the patterns of convolutions on certain parts of his cerebral cortex was amazingly complex, which may explain why the man behind E=MC2 had such advanced cognitive abilities, and could imagine riding alongside a beam of light.


According to evolutionary anthropologist Dean Falk, who led the study, “the prefrontal, somatosensory, primary motor, parietal, temporal and occipital cortices were extraordinary.”

Of course, that's not to say you can't become the next Einstein, but let's hope your brain structure can give you a head start. 

Related: Which Great Genius Was Most Like You?

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