New study gets inside Einstein’s head

BY Mori Rothman  October 6, 2013 at 1:47 PM EDT


Photos, hand-drawn maps and glass slides show different views of the brain of Albert Einstein at the National Museum of Health and Medicine, Silver Spring, Maryland.

Researchers may have discovered a link between Albert Einstein’s brilliance and the famous physicists’s brain structure.

In a new study published this week in the scientific journal Brain, a group of scientists from East China Normal University in Shanghai found Einstein had unusually well-connected right and left brain hemispheres.

Lead author of the study Weiwei Men developed a new method to study the corpus callosum– the group of nerves connecting the two hemispheres of the brain. The method measures the thickness of the nerves and documents where the nerves connect to each hemisphere.

Einstein’s brain was compared to brain samples from 15 elderly men and 52 men of Einstein’s age in 1905, the same year he wrote the Annus Mirabilis papers, which contained groundbreaking revelations– including his theory of relativity.

The scientists found that Einstein’s brain had more connectivity than all other samples.

This is not the first time Einstein’s brain has gone under the microscope: Einstein’s brain was actually removed after his death in 1955 by a pathologist named Thomas Harvey.

When Harvey died, Einstein’s brain samples were then given to the University Medical Center of Princeton.