O córtex cerebral de Albert Einstein: uma descrição e análise preliminar de fotografias não publicadas

sexta-feira, novembro 23, 2012

The cerebral cortex of Albert Einstein: a description and preliminary analysis of unpublished photographs

Dean Falk1,2, Frederick E. Lepore3,4 and Adrianne Noe5

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Anthropology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306-7772, USA

2 School for Advanced Research, Santa Fe, NM 87505, USA

3 Department of Neurology, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, NJ 08854, USA

4 Department of Ophthalmology, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, NJ 08854, USA

5 National Museum of Health and Medicine, Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA

Correspondence to: Dean Falk, School for Advanced Research, 660 Garcia Street, Santa Fe, NM 87505, USA E-mail: dfalk@fsu.edu or falk@sarsf.org

Received June 12, 2012.

Revision received August 21, 2012.

Accepted August 17, 2012.


Upon his death in 1955, Albert Einstein’s brain was removed, fixed and photographed from multiple angles. It was then sectioned into 240 blocks, and histological slides were prepared. At the time, a roadmap was drawn that illustrates the location within the brain of each block and its associated slides. Here we describe the external gross neuroanatomy of Einstein’s entire cerebral cortex from 14 recently discovered photographs, most of which were taken from unconventional angles. Two of the photographs reveal sulcal patterns of the medial surfaces of the hemispheres, and another shows the neuroanatomy of the right (exposed) insula. Most of Einstein’s sulci are identified, and sulcal patterns in various parts of the brain are compared with those of 85 human brains that have been described in the literature. To the extent currently possible, unusual features of Einstein’s brain are tentatively interpreted in light of what is known about the evolution of higher cognitive processes in humans. As an aid to future investigators, these (and other) features are correlated with blocks on the roadmap (and therefore histological slides). Einstein’s brain has an extraordinary prefrontal cortex, which may have contributed to the neurological substrates for some of his remarkable cognitive abilities. The primary somatosensory and motor cortices near the regions that typically represent face and tongue are greatly expanded in the left hemisphere. Einstein’s parietal lobes are also unusual and may have provided some of the neurological underpinnings for his visuospatial and mathematical skills, as others have hypothesized. Einstein’s brain has typical frontal and occipital shape asymmetries (petalias) and grossly asymmetrical inferior and superior parietal lobules. Contrary to the literature, Einstein’s brain is not spherical, does not lack parietal opercula and has non-confluent Sylvian and inferior postcentral sulci.

Key words

Albert Einstein Broca’s area parietal lobules inferior third frontal gyrus prefrontal cortex



Brodmann area

© The Author(s) 2012. Published by Oxford University Press.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0), which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.