Tag Archive | germany

The Bizarre Journey of Einstein’s Missing Brain

download (96)On 18 April 1955, Albert Einstein, the “Man of the century” died in Princeton Hospital. He was 76 by then. The entire world mourned the passing of one of the most genius minds the world has ever seen. The cause of death was internal bleeding, because an abdominal aortic aneurysm burst. Einstein made it clear that his body is to be cremated after he dies. His words were “I want to be cremated so people won’t come to worship at my bones”. But many don’t know the fact that within a few hours of his death, his brain went missing! Dr. Thomas Stoltz Harvey, who was then a pathologist at the Princeton Hospital, was assigned to do the autopsy. He removed Einstein’s brain against the will of the scientist. Fascinated to study the genius’s brain and hoping that the neuroscience of the future might reveal the reason what made Einstein’s brain so intelligent, he secretly took out the brain. The brain of the genius of the century was stolen, and no one knew about it; even the Einstein family was unaware of the fact. It was the news of the next day that made them realize the fact.

Harvey himself made the fact public. It was obvious that the whole world went crazy. Reporters thronged to the home and office of Harvey and the Einstein family. There was a madness among the reporters to know whether the rumor was true or not, and if it was, they wanted to know more. The Einstein family was outraged and at grief as they didn’t gave the permission to remove and preserve Einstein’s brain. To make the matter even worse, someone removed Einstein’s eyes too. This fact only shows that how obsessed was the world to know what Einstein’s brain thought, what Einstein’s eyes saw.

The family immediately went to meet Dr. Harvey, and after learning a few facts that Harvey discovered during the course of time, they gave the doctor permission to proceed with his study. However, they laid the condition that the results are to be published only in scientific journals, and the doctor will not make any money out of it.

Dr. Harvey made a couple of findings. Einstein’s brain weighed 1,230 grams, which is a little more than the average adult brain, but well within a normal human brain range. He photographed the brain from different angles, and took it to the University of Pennsylvania, where he dissected it into 170 pieces. It took him three complete months in the process. Each brain section was then sliced into 240 microscopic slides. Dr. Harvey spent months and years, but apart from learning some minor things, he didn’t find anything major. His efforts were failing and he couldn’t do anything. In desperation, he contacted some of the best Neurologists of that time. But to his misery no one agreed as no one wanted to be associated with the person who stole the brain of the “Man of the century”. As a result Dr. Harvey suddenly disappeared along with the brain, and the world kept waiting.

Einstein was born in Ulm, Germany in 1879 and started his education in Munich. Some believe that it’s not the structure of his brain that made him a genius, but it was his upbringing, his curiosity, the era he grew and lived. His father was an engineer and he idolized him. He saw two world wars as well as the cold war, and their catastrophic results. He was always very curious to learn things. By age of 10 he started asking questions, which the teachers couldn’t answer. So he was a trouble maker. He was least interested in learning the bookish materials and instead loved to learn practically. After his graduation, although he was looking for a teaching post, but couldn’t find one, he secured a clerical job in a patent office in Bern. The job was quite boring, but with decent salary, and it gave him enough free time to think, study, and understand the things that have always fascinated him. He spent a lot of time looking out of the window, thinking, and writing lots of notes and equations.

He published 300 plus scientific papers and hundreds of books in his lifetime. Most of us think that Einstein made his discoveries in his 60s, but the truth is the four major ground breaking discoveries of his life were made while he was quite young. In just one year, 1905 he wrote four groundbreaking scientific papers, while the other scientists even after spending their entire lifetime still struggle to write one. That is really a genius! The Time magazine recognized him as the man of the century, overlooking Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill, and Martin Luther King Jr. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1921 for the discovery of the “law of the photoelectric effect” and his contributions to Theoretical Physics.

Two decades since the death of the great scientist, and there was still no sign of his brain nor of Dr. Harvey. However, in year 1978, an article titled “I Found Einstein’s Brain” was published in the New Jersey Monthly. The author was Steven Levy. His senior assigned him a task that was to change his life and career, which was to find the missing brain of Einstein. After doing some research, Levy found that Dr. Harvey was living in Wichita, Kansas. He called the doctor and asked if they can meet for an interview. After a moment of silence, he heard the doctor saying yes. Levy visited the doctor and after a small talk, he asked if he is still in possession of the brain. Dr. Harvey then took out two large mason jars from a cider box containing the brain sections, still preserved in alcohol.

DIscover the World With Globes

images (26)I have an old childhood memory of spinning the blue world globe in my bedroom with my eyes closed and slapping my finger down on a faraway location. I’d dream about what life and the people might be like there. I learned early how to use a globe to explore the world, and I bet I wasn’t the only one who was spinning globes when they were kids.

At some point I also learned that our desk globe was tilted at 23.5 degrees to match the tilt of the earth, which I found extremely interesting. When I was a little older I learned that the tilt of the earth in relation to the sun is what makes the seasons change, as well as the hours of daylight lengthen and shorten.

The world globes of today are different from the globes that were around during childhood, not just because we have so many different aesthetic varieties available. Territorial lines are not the same and many countries have changed their names and/or their boundaries. The USSR, once the biggest “country” in the world (I used the term “country” loosely because the Soviet Union was actually a union of annexed republics, not a union of independent countries who elected to join), has been replaced by smaller independent nations. Germany has been divided and reunited. What was once East Pakistan from 1947 to 1971 is now Bangladesh.

Colonies of the British Empire are now independent countries. The list of changes to the modern world map and current, updated world globes goes on and on.

There are many types of globes that can make world geography fun for kids, even globes that have countries and borders that can be colored in with crayons or markers. Teens can enjoy decorating their rooms with colorful globes or world globes that can even hold jewelry and other items. And of course there is a whole menagerie of globes and bar globe drinks cabinets to choose from that can be used as furniture, whether your taste in decor is classic style or whether it is modern and chic.

Geographic and educational world globes teach us many things about the world and provide us with a lifetime of enjoyment and learning. They combine beauty, functionality, design and education. But most importantly, they also allow us to dream about visiting distant lands. Even if we are no longer children spinning our globes in our bedrooms, we can still dream and discover the world.

Rita Dapkus-Sproston owns BarGlobeWorld.com, a family business launched to express a passion for world globe bars and vintage bar globes, and to keep the age-old art of crafting vintage globe furniture as popular today as it was centuries ago.