An iPad App Providing Digitized Brain Images of Einstein the Genius

An iPad App has been launched on Tuesday that will provide intrinsic detailed images of the science genius, Albert Einstein. The flowing application will allow researchers and people all around the world to peek into the brain as if observing it through a microscope. The national museum of Health and Medicine in Chicago got funding to scan and digitize almost 350 slides made from the genius scientist’s brain after his death in 1955.

albert einstein

It happened like, when Einstein died in 1955, Princeton Hospital pathologist Thomas Harvey removed his brain during the autopsy without any prior permission. He further sliced it up into more than 200 pieces and carefully preserved them in formaldehyde. The pathologist eventually lost his job when he refused to give the specimen off. Harvey gave these samples to researchers and also participated in a study conducted in 1999 published in Lancet. It showed that the parietal lobe, which is indispensable for understanding Maths and spatial relationships was 15 percent wider than the normal. And what to make of it now, we have got an application to focus on the brain of the most talked about genius that ever lived.

The app can be downloaded for $9.99 by anyone and the user can study the images from the collection stored at the museum. The images can be looked into deeply, with the cellular structure and tissue formations being visible since Harvey had stained the sample. The brain regions where the neurons are more densely connected than the normal can also be observed. Though it’s a great tool for medicine students and researchers, there are a certain problems. Since the tissues were preserved much before the modern imaging technology emerged, it is slightly difficult to figure out where in the brain, each slide originated. Despite the pathologist photos taken from different angles, it is not easy to infer, which bit we are looking at. Though, the app organizes the slides into general brain areas but a precise model is not mapped.

“They didn’t have MRI,” said Jacopo Annese of the University of California’s Brain Observatory, San Diego, who has digitised 2,400 slides from the brain of amnesiac Henry Molaison. “We don’t have a three-dimensional model of the brain of Einstein, so we don’t know where the samples were taken from.”

Annese has also digitized another famous brain, Henry Molaison, who died in 2008 after living for a long time with terrible amnesia. Molaison during his lifetime participated in research that has revealed new insights regarding learning and memory. Annese’s work will be accessible online from December 12. The researchers further comments that when in future an Einstein will die, they will be prepared (to produce a 3D mapped interactive specimen).

There are questions as to how the genius scientist would have reacted to see the images of his brain available with non-scientists at only a price of $9.99. But many are of the opinion that by making the images open source, neuro studies can take place more rapidly. The app could inspire a whole new generation of neuro-scientists.


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