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MAGAZINE : Intelligence

Einstein’s Brain Was Different

Why was Einstein, the man of the 20th century, so brilliant? Apparently, his brain did not have the exact same anatomical characteristics as ours....

During his lifetime, and especially since his death, much has been discussed about the properties of Albert Einsteinís brain, the 20th centuryís genius. Was it different from that of other men? A big lover of science, Einstein himself had insisted that his brain remain available for research after his death. This order was executed upon his death in Princeton, New Jersey on April 17, 1955.

Doctor Thomas Harvey, surgeon at Princeton Medical Center, led the autopsy upon Einsteinís death, and took great care in preserving the brain belonging to the winner of the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics. He even went so far as making a preliminary analysis of the brain, concluding that Einsteinís brain showed 'normal' characteristics.

But several years ago, a number of Canadian academics who re-examined the brainó carefully preserved in Princeton since 1955ódiscovered that the subjectís parietal lobes were 15% larger than that of an ordinary brain. This area is known to shelter visual recognition and mathematical thinking. Therefore, Einstein was apparently equipped with a better degree of reasoning than the majority. In most brains, the Sylvian fissure, a groove that runs along both sides of the human brain from front to back, divides the area that deals with mathematical reasoning from the area that deals with visual and spatial connections. But, in Einstein's brain, that division doesn't exist.


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