SCIENCE

Einstein's Brain Had Well-Connected Hemispheres That Sparked His Brilliance, Study Suggests

10/05/2013 08:49 am ET | Updated Oct 06, 2013

While Albert Einstein, considered one of the foremost geniuses of the 20th century, has transformed scientists' understanding of physics and astronomy with his theories, the intellect of Einstein himself has remained misunderstood.

Ever since pathologist Dr. Thomas Harvey harvested the scientist's brain in 1955, researchers have tried to crack the mystery of Einstein's genius by observing that brain.

Now scientists think they've found a clue. A new study, published in the journal Brain on September 24, 2013, suggests that the two hemispheres in Einstein's brain were unusually well connected.

"This study, more than any other to date, really gets at the 'inside' of Einstein's brain," study co-author Dean Falk, an evolutionary anthropologist at Florida State University, said in a written statement. "It provides new information that helps make sense of what is known about the surface of Einstein's brain."

In the study, Falk and her colleagues looked at a series of unpublished photographs of the brain, taken from many angles. The team analyzed the thickness of the brain's corpus callosum -- the large bundle of fibers that connects the brain's two cerebral hemispheres and allows them to communicate with each other. Then the researchers compared that part of Einstein's brain to the same structure in 15 elderly males and 52 younger men from 1905.

What was found? Compared to the other men, Einstein's corpus callosum was thicker in many areas, which indicates greater connectivity between his brain's two hemispheres and has been linked with higher levels of intelligence.

Einstein's brain holds many other secrets as well. Back in 2012, Falk and colleagues found that Einstein's brain had an extraordinary prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain associated with abstract thinking.

Click through the slideshow below for a complete history of the journey of Einstein's brain --a tale as singular as the great scientist:

What Happened To Einstein's Brain?
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