Einstein’s brain: It was better than yours

Got brains?

Well, maybe, but nothing like what was in the noggin of Albert Einstein, whose brain was, not surprisingly, “unlike those of most people,” according to a new study led by Florida State University evolutionary anthropologist Dean Falk.

Einstein was a really smart guy who lived a while ago and discovered lots of important stuff, like, um, relativity.

“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,” says Falk.

I’ll leave it up to you to Google all those big words.

The study, “The Cerebral Cortex of Albert Einstein: A Description and Preliminary Analysis of Unpublished Photographs,” was published Friday in the aptly-titled journal Brain.

“Einstein’s brain has an extraordinary prefrontal cortex, which may have contributed to ... some of his remarkable cognitive abilities,” Falk says in the study.

After Einstein died in 1955, his brain was removed and photographed from several angles. Unfortunately, many of the photos of the brain were considered lost for more than 55 years.

However, 14 photographs of Einstein’s brain recently were uncovered by the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Silver Spring, Md., as part of a donation from the estate of Dr. Thomas Harvey, the pathologist who took the photos.

After the photos were taken, the brain itself was cut into 240 separate blocks for analysis, most of which remain at the University Medical Centre in Princeton, N.J., where Einstein’s brain was taken after he died.

The locations of some of Einstein’s brain chunks are unknown, unfortunately.

So the photos of the full, predissected brain are a real find: “Although it is beyond the scope of this article, we also hope that our identifications will be useful for workers interested in comparing Einstein’s brain with preserved brains from other gifted individuals.”

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