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Science & Technology

Albert Einstein's brain 'not so special'

By T.K. Randall
May 31, 2014 · Comment icon 34 comments

What made Albert Einstein so intelligent ? Image Credit: Ferdinand Schmutzer
Psychologist Terence Hines has debunked previous claims that Einstein's brain had special properties.
One of the most celebrated scientists in history, Albert Einstein's name itself has become synonymous with the concept of genius thanks to his myriad of contributions to the world of physics such as his famous general theory of relativity.

When he died in 1955 his brain was surgically removed for preservation by pathologist Thomas Stoltz Harvey in the hope that neuroscientists could one day determine what it was that had made him so intelligent.
One such study conducted in 1985 determined that Einstein's brain appeared to possess a higher proportion of glial cells than other brains, indicating that this could have been the key to his genius.

Pace University psychologist Terence Hines however has since cast doubt on this analysis and others like it to maintain that the brain of the German physicist was pretty ordinary as far as brains go, possessing no apparent advantage in the way that it was structured.

While his findings aren't conclusive, they do open up the possibility that Einstein's superior intellect may have come from somewhere else. Could it be that everyone possesses the potential to think like Einstein or was there something else that contributed to his genius ? We may never know for sure.

Source: Newser | Comments (34)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #25 Posted by SaraT 10 years ago
I don't suppose Einstein's brain is special any longer since he's been dead for quite a while.
Comment icon #26 Posted by Harte 10 years ago
I don't suppose Einstein's brain is special any longer since he's been dead for quite a while. What, you don't watch Futurama? Harte
Comment icon #27 Posted by StarMountainKid 10 years ago
Einstein also had the ability for total concentration on one subject for long periods of time, years, in fact. Story goes a physicist visited Einstein in his later years to discuss some element of physics. He said they worked all morning on some idea, paused for lunch (at which Einstein's wife had to constantly remind Albert to eat), studied all afternoon, then all evening until it was time for bed. The next day they studied until late afternoon, when the physicist had to leave. The physicist later said he was so intellectually exhausted after his visit with Einstein that he didn't want to thi... [More]
Comment icon #28 Posted by Nenaraz 10 years ago
Einstein also had the ability for total concentration on one subject for long periods of time, years, in fact. Story goes a physicist visited Einstein in his later years to discuss some element of physics. He said they worked all morning on some idea, paused for lunch (at which Einstein's wife had to constantly remind Albert to eat), studied all afternoon, then all evening until it was time for bed. The next day they studied until late afternoon, when the physicist had to leave. The physicist later said he was so intellectually exhausted after his visit with Einstein that he didn't want to thi... [More]
Comment icon #29 Posted by willowdreams 10 years ago
it is not about the size and shape it is all about how you USE it.
Comment icon #30 Posted by scorpiosonic 10 years ago
Einstein was no ordinary person. He was a genius and he thought out of the box -- completely out of it -- and therefor had insights that once you "get" them are startling. I think a lot of people don't get them and blame Einstein, not the limitations of their own brains. I don't suppose Einstein's brain is special any longer since he's been dead for quite a while. Each person has their own set of talents, and he was esp gifted in his field. His brain was physically special, (somehow) and the way he used it was also. (He had an average sized brain as well.) How many here can truthfully say they... [More]
Comment icon #31 Posted by regeneratia 10 years ago
Again, I have to mention that one cannot be sure this theory is accurate. Just when in the sleep/wake phase Einstein in when he died? Research on rat brains indicate that the interstitial fluid space in the brain expand remarkably while asleep, and shrinks when awake. If einstein died while sleeping or in some kind of coma, the interstial space would be expanded, indicating less glial space. If he died while awake, then the glial space would be expanded. What condition was Einstein in when he died? Anyone know? http://www.sciencema...nt/342/6156/373 I think I should say that the interstitial s... [More]
Comment icon #32 Posted by Harte 10 years ago
Please tell us the effect formaldehyde has on the glial space. Pickles shrink, I know that much. Harte
Comment icon #33 Posted by nohands 10 years ago
i think the reasons why is invisible..............
Comment icon #34 Posted by Black Razz 10 years ago
All brains are equal but some brains are more equal than others. Well said sir. Perfect.


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