Q:

What is interesting about Albert Einstein's brain?

A:

Albert Einstein's brain was cut into 240 pieces after his death in 1955, and scientists determined that the physicist's parietal lobe was 15 percent larger than normal, and that part of his brain was missing the Sylvian fissure. The parietal lobe deals with spatial, mathematical and three-dimensional abilities. A missing Sylvian fissure allows brain cells to communicate faster in the parietal lobe.

Einstein's brain also contained abnormally large amounts of astrocytes in the parietal lobe. Astrocytes help brain cells communicate with each other. Higher amounts of astrocytes are associated with learning, memory and possibly genius levels of intelligence.

A new study published in 2012 found intricate patterns in the cerebral cortex of Einstein's brain. This section of the brain deals with higher cognition, memory and imagination. The physicist's cerebral cortex was different from normal human brains, which may explain his "thought experiments" that led to his theories of relativity.

Dr. Thomas Harvey was responsible for preserving Einstein's brain in 1955. He saved the organ in formaldehyde for neuroscientists to study. Harvey removed the brain under suspicious circumstances, according to NPR. In 1995, the doctor devised a plan to return most of the 240 pieces of brain to Einstein's granddaughter in California. She refused the request, and upon Harvey's death in 2007, Einstein's brain reverted back to the pathology department of Princeton University.


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