A new study suggests that the structure of Einstein's brain could account for his genius.
Portions of the German-born theoretical physicist's brain have been found to be unlike those of most people and could be related to his extraordinary cognitive abilities, the researchers said.
Florida State University evolutionary anthropologist Dean Falk, along with colleagues Frederick E. Lepore of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Adrianne Noe, director of the National Museum of Health and Medicine, describe for the first time the entire cerebral cortex of Einstein's brain from an examination of 14 recently discovered photographs.
The researchers compared Einstein's brain to 85 "normal" human brains and, in light of current functional imaging studies, interpreted its unusual features.
"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," said Falk, the Hale G. Smith Professor of Anthropology at Florida State.
"These may have provided the neurological underpinnings for some of his visuospatial and mathematical abilities, for instance."
Upon Einstein's death in 1955, his brain was removed and photographed from multiple angles with the permission of his family.
The study will be published in the journal Brain.