Einstein’s Brain is Now an App
When Albert Einstein died in 1955, a pathologist named Thomas Harvey removed the brain during an autopsy, had it sliced into sections and then stored it in his basement.
Harvey hoped these brain samples would be used by researchers to explore what made Einstein tick and on occasion he’d send out small samples to those who wanted a closer look.
Except for a famous cross country road trip in the 90s where Harvey tried to return it to Einstein’s granddaughter, the brain has sat mostly undisturbed since its original removal.
But now you can explore it via a $9.99 iPad app from the National Museum of Health and Medicine:
Neuroscientists, researchers, educators and the general public now have access to Albert Einstein’s brain via this new iPad app that will allow its users to examine the Nobel Prize-winning physicist’s neuroanatomy as if they were sitting in front of a microscope.
Dr. Thomas Harvey was the pathologist who performed the autopsy on Albert Einstein at Princeton Hospital on April 18, 1955. Dr. Harvey removed the brain for study, segmented the brain into approximately 170 parts, roughly grouped by the various lobes and brainstem, and then sectioned those parts into hundreds of microscope sections. These sections were mounted on microscope slides and stained to highlight both cellular structure and nerve conductive tissue. Harvey’s estate donated the collection to the National Museum of Health and Medicine in 2010. In the spring of 2012, the National Museum of Health and Medicine Chicago (NMHMChicago) obtained private funding support to begin digitizing this collection. This app makes available to the public the portion of the collection that has been digitized to-date. Subsequent releases of this app will add additional materials as their digitization can be completed.
So, there’s that. Famous brains are now apps.
Image: Screenshot, Einstein’s brain, via the NMHMC Harvey app (iTunes).