Einstein’s brain in a jar and the thief who stole it
The man you see in the photograph is the pathologist Thomas Stoltz Harvey, and what he’s holding in his hand is Albert Einstein’s dissected brain.
The father of relativity died on April 18th, 1955, at the age of 76, suffering from an abdominal aortic aneurysm.
The pathologist who performed the autopsy at Princeton Hospital, Thomas Stoltz Harvey, without informing anyone, removed the brilliant brain (1,230 grams of grey matter, an absolutely average weight) from the skull. He basically behaved like Igor in Frankenstein Junior.
Harvey dissected the organ and secretly sent some samples to specialists. He kept the remains in his home, in the jar of formaldehyde you see in the picture, for over twenty years. The rest of Einstein’s body was cremated, and the ashes were scattered by his family in a place never made public.
Einstein had verbally offered his body to science for study after death. However, the world did not discover where his brain had gone until August 1978, through an article by young journalist Steven Levy that appeared in the New Jersey Monthly.
After years of studies carried out in various parts of the world on the samples made available by Harvey, two peculiarities emerged that differentiate the well-documented brain of the physics genius from that of ordinary mortals. He had an above-average concentration of glial cells (which together with neurons make up the nervous system) and corpus callosum (the matter that connects the two cerebral hemispheres) thicker than the average. This particularity probably allowed Einstein to have a higher uniformity of reasoning since the rational and creative aspects of his thought could mix more fluidly.