Parts of famed physicist Albert Einstein's brain were "extraordinary," according to a new study. (Photo: AP)
Doyle Rice, USA TODAY
- Einstein's brain had an extraordinary prefrontal cortex, a scientist finds
- 14 photographs of Einstein's brain were recently uncovered by the National Museum of Health and Medicine
- Einstein's brain was photographed shortly after he died
Albert Einstein's brain was "unlike those of most people," according to a new study led by Florida State University evolutionary anthropologist Dean Falk.
"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," Falk says.
The study, "The Cerebral Cortex of Albert Einstein: A Description and Preliminary Analysis of Unpublished Photographs," will be published Friday in the journal Brain.
"Einstein's brain has an extraordinary prefrontal cortex, which may have contributed to . . . some of his remarkable cognitive abilities," Falk notes 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 were recently uncovered by the National Museum of Health and Medicine
in Silver Spring, Md., as part of a donation from the estate of 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 Center 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, pre-dissected 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."