Well, most of it anyway.
The other day I wrote about finding moon rocks in Minnesota, one of 50 displays given out after the Apollo XI mission and nearly all unaccounted for today.
Now the Washington Post has reported on another missing scientific treasure. When Albert Einstein died in 1955, his son allowed the examining pathologist, Thomas Harvey, to preserve the brain for scientific study.
Harvey photographed the brain and then cut it into 240 blocks, which were embedded in a resinlike substance. He cut the blocks into as many as 2,000 thin sections for microscopic study, and in subsequent years distributed slides and photographs of the brain to at least 18 researchers around the world
With the exception of the slides Harvey kept for himself, no one knows where the rest of the specimens are anymore.
However, Harvey’s materials have yielded several new studies in the past few years.
Anthropologist Dean Falk’s 2009 study “found that Einstein’s parietal lobes — which might be linked to his remarkable ability to conceptualize physics problems — had a very unusual pattern of grooves and ridges.”
After Harvey died, his Einstein items were transferred since his death to the U.S. Army’s National Museum of Health and Medicine. Another study by Falk and collaborators compared Einstein’s brain with those of 85 other people:
Although the brain is only average in size, several regions feature additional convolutions and folds rarely seen in others. For example, the regions on the left side of the brain that facilitate sensory inputs into and motor control of the face and tongue are much larger than normal; and his prefrontal cortex — linked to planning, focused attention and perseverance — is also greatly expanded.
I hope you’re “Uh-hmm”-ing along with me like those Viennese doctors in the old 1930s comedies. Just imagine if we really knew what it all means.