Study Reveals Details of Einstein's Brain

First Posted: Nov 17, 2012 04:01 AM EST

 Albert Einstein introduced a new era of discovery and knowledge with his work. His renowned contribution to the scientific world has given him an iconic status as a scientist. And many have wondered what made him so different and a super genius.

And this mystery has been decoded by the Florida State University evolutionary anthropologist Dean Falk. He says that parts of Albert Einstein's brain are unique and different from most of the people. And this is the prime reason for his extraordinary cognitive abilities.

For the first time, the entire cerebral cortex of Einstein was studied by Falk, along with colleagues Frederick E. Lepore of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Adrianne Noe, director of the National Museum of Health and Medicine. This was done based on the 14 photographs that were recently discovered.

The brain of the genius scientist was compared to that of 85 normal human brains and in light of current functional imaging studies, its unusual features were interpreted..

"Although the overall size and asymmetrical shape of Einstein's brain were normal, the prefrontal, somatosensory, primary motor, parietal, temporal and occipital cortices were extraordinary," said Falk. "These may have provided the neurological underpinnings for some of his visuospatial and mathematical abilities, for instance."

After the demise of Einstein, his brain was removed and photographed from multiple angles with the consent of his family. Next his brain was sectioned into 240 blocks from which histological slides were prepared. But these photographs, blocks and slides were lost from public sight for more than 55 years. 

The national Museum of Health and Medicine currently have the 14 photographs.

The paper also publishes the "roadmap" to Einstein's brain prepared in 1955 by Dr. Thomas Harvey to illustrate the locations within Einstein's previously whole brain of 240 dissected blocks of tissue, which provides a key to locating the origins within the brain of the newly emerged histological slides.

The study, "The Cerebral Cortex of Albert Einstein: A Description and Preliminary Analysis of Unpublished Photographs," will be published Nov. 16 in the journal Brain

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