Albert Einstein's Brain Was Stolen

Excited for the August 21 eclipse? Visit our Eclipse 2017 page to explore the science, history, and myths of the event. The Curiosity team will be viewing the eclipse alongside NASA in Carbondale, Illinois. Follow us on Facebook for live videos, trivia, and interviews on the big day.

Albert Einstein died from an abdominal aneurism at Princeton Hospital on April 18, 1955. Einstein had always wanted his body to be cremated, but Thomas Harvey, the pathologist on call, decided to steal his brain to study it later. His crime didn't stay a secret for long, but once Einstein's family found out, Harvey managed to get their retroactive permission to use it as long as it was solely in the service of scientific research. For obvious reasons, Harvey lost his job soon after. When Harvey left the hospital, he took the brain with him and eventually sliced it into 240 pieces to be preserved in hard, rubbery celloidin. Years later, Harvey was joined by a team of researchers to publish the first study of Einstein's brain, which found that it had an abnormal proportion of neurons and neuron-support cells called glia. Today, portions of his brain are on public display at the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia.

If you liked this you'll love our podcast! Check it out on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, search 'curiosity' on your favorite podcast app or add the RSS Feed URL.