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Unlocking Einstein's genius: His brain was indeed remarkable

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 28th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

There was no doubting scientist Albert Einstein's genius, the father of modern physics. A study of Einstein's actual gray matter, including biopsy specimens and photos would indeed prove a link to the preeminent genius of his age. When he passed away in 1955 at the age of 76, such samples were made available - but little came from those studies at the time. A recent study of Einstein's brain has now concluded that his brain was indeed remarkable.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - As published in the a recent journal of Brain, Dean Falk of Florida State University at Tallahassee, found that Einstein's parietal lobes, which could possibly be linked to his remarkable ability to conceptualize physics problems had a very unusual pattern of grooves and ridges.

Falk teamed up with neurologist Frederick Lepore of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey and Adrianne Noe, director of the museum, to analyze 14 photographs of the whole brain from the a previous collection that had never been made public.

The report also includes a "road map" prepared by Harvey that links the photographs to the 240 blocks.

Although Einstein's brain is only average in size, several regions feature additional convolutions and folds rarely seen in others. The regions on the left side of the brain that facilitate sensory inputs into and motor control of the face and tongue are much larger than normal; and his prefrontal cortex - linked to planning, focused attention and perseverance is also greatly expanded.

"In each lobe," including the frontal, parietal and occipital lobes, "there are regions that are exceptionally complicated in their convolutions," Falk says. As for the enlarged regions linked to the face and tongue, Falk thinks that this might be in reference to Einstein's famous quote that his thinking was often "muscular" rather than done in words.

Research into Einstein's brain began in 1955 when the Nobel Prize-winning physicist died in Princeton, N.J. His son Hans Albert along with his executor, Otto Nathan, gave the examining pathologist, Thomas Harvey, permission to preserve the brain for scientific study.

Harvey then photographed the brain and then cut it into 240 blocks, which were embedded in a resin-like substance. Harvey cut the blocks into as many as 2,000 thin sections for microscopic study, and in subsequent years distributed slides and photographs of the brain to at least 18 researchers around the world.

However, with the exception of the slides that Harvey kept for himself, no one is sure where the specimens are now, and many of them have probably been lost as researchers retired or died.

It is hopes that these new discoveries will lead to further research into the pre-eminent genius of the 20th Century.

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