Einstein's Stolen Brain Unlocks Some Mysteries Of The Mind + documentary video "Einstein's Brain "
In the 55 years since Albert Einstein's death, many scientists have tried to figure out what made him so smart. But no one tried harder than a pathologist named Thomas Harvey, who lost his job and his reputation in a quest to unlock the secrets of Einstein's genius. Harvey never found the answer. But through an unlikely sequence of events, his search helped transform our understanding of how the brain works.
Einstein IQ & Dissection Studies Results
Why was Einstein’s IQ so high? What made the genius scientist so smart? These questions along with perhaps a desire for notoriety motivated pathologist Thomas Harvey to remove Einstein’s brain without permission during the autopsy shortly after the physicist’s death. In a bizarre true-life story filled with drama, intrigue, and controversy, Harvey took Einstein’s brain without authorization for what he later justified as the benefit of science. Yet scientists remain skeptical that the subsequent dissection and research of the genius brain has uncovered any secrets of how brain composition results in superior intelligence.
Fate of Einstein’s Brain
On April 18, 1955, Albert Einstein died at the age of 76 from an abdominal aortic aneurysm at New Jersey’s Princeton Hospital. Einstein had left explicit instructions that his body should be cremated.
Einstein’s instructions to cremate his body were followed — mostly. His body was cremated as per his wishes; however, Dr. Thomas Stoltz Harvey, the pathologist on call at Princeton Hopsital the morning of Einstein’s death, could not bear the thought of losing the chance to preserve the genius physicist’s brain as well as his eyeballs. He gave the eyeballs to Einstein’s ophthalmologist, Dr. Henry Abrams, and intended to study Einstein’s brain himself.
The Guardian quoted Harvey as saying, "I felt lucky. I had the great fortune of being the one, at the right place at the right time. It was the biggest moment in my life."
The Strange Odyssey of Einstein's Stolen Brain
When Thomas Harvey performed Albert Einstein's autopsy, he removed his brain, which was standard procedure. But what he did next wasn't standard at all: He put the brain in a jar of formaldehyde and made off with it. NPR relates the strange tale in a segment this morning. Harvey said he was driven by a sense of scientific duty, and through the years would freely distribute bits of the brain to leading neuroanatomists.
Scientific Studies of Einstein’s Brain
After he removed the brain from Einstein’s skull, Harvey photographed it and then a hospital technician sliced it into 240 pieces. According to the Postcards from the Brain Museum book excerpt on NPR.org, Harvey gave some of the pieces to Harry Zimmerman, Einstein’s personal physician, and kept the remaining pieces himself.
On The Road With Einstein's Brain
Paterniti caught up with Harvey 40 years later, when the writer became intrigued by the story of Einstein's brain. Over the phone, the men hatched a plan to return the brain to Einstein's granddaughter Evelyn, who was living in Berkeley, Calif.
Where is Einstein's Brain Today?
In the final chapter of the Einstein brain saga, Harvey made a grand cross-country trip from Princeton to California, brain in tow in the back of his Buick Skylark, to bequeath the organ to Einstein’s granddaughter, who it turned out did not want it. So Harvey drove back to Princeton, donating the brain instead to Princeton Hospital. The brain had come full circle, once again ending up where it had begun its fateful journey.
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