Albert Einstein

Here's How Einstein's Brain Differed From An Average Person's

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Albert Einstein died on April 18, 1955. Despite having an abdominal aortic aneurysm, he refused surgery, saying, "I want to go when I want. It is tasteless to prolong life artificially. I have done my share, it is time to go. I will do it elegantly." So, uh, about that elegant end...

O Brainy, Where Art Thou?

During the autopsy, pathologist Thomas Stoltz Harvey removed Einstein's brain without the family's permission. The brain was photographed and sliced into 240 blocks for research purposes. Albert's son, Hans, was furious. The U.S. Army even tried to get their hands on the brain, hoping it would give them an edge in the Cold War.

Several studies have since been conducted on the famous scientist's brain and its purportedly unique anatomy. A 2013 study was the first to analyze his corpus callosum, and found that many segments in Einstein's brain were thicker than average, hinting at a stronger connection between his hemispheres.

Another study, conducted in 2012, noted that Einstein's parietal lobes were asymmetrical, the right one being far larger than the left. The correlation between these features and Einstein's incredible mental abilities aren't exactly clear, but many scientists believe that examining his brain's oddities can help to explain his groundbreaking ideas.

Most of Einstein's brain is currently at the University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro. The author of a book about his brain suggests that small pieces of it could be scattered in attics across America. Carolyn Abrahams says the pathologist who performed the autopsy handed them out as souvenirs.

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. If brain size correlated with intelligence, the sperm whale would be the world's smartest animal. 00:47

  2. Neanderthals had larger brains than humans. 02:37

  3. Einstein's brain was no bigger than average, but it did have areas that appeared more developed. 04:15

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