Brush with genius: Einstein's brain cells go on show


Part of the brain of Albert Einstein, the scientist considered one the most striking intellects in human history, is going on display for the first time in the UK.

Following his death at the age of 76 in 1955, Einstein's brain was divided into sections, two of which are going on show at the Wellcome Collection. Brains: The Mind As Matter will also feature the brain of US suffragette Helen H Gardener, which she donated to science to disprove theories about gender.

The two sections from Einstein's brain are on loan from the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia, where they were only shown publicly in the US for the first time last year. The eminent scientist was cremated and his ashes were scattered according to his wishes.

But pathologist Thomas Harvey, who carried out the post-mortem examination, said that Einstein's son gave him permission to preserve the brain for research, a claim which was later disputed. He kept the brain, which to many people's surprise was not particularly large, and divided it into 240 sections preserved in jars of formaldehyde at his house.

He gave a box of 46 slides to his pathologist colleague William Ehrich, and the samples were eventually donated to the museum in Philadelphia.