Friday, November 30, 2012

Brain Pics Confirm that Einstein was Smart

It's a good thing we still have access to [pictures and pieces of] Einstein's brain. Otherwise, we may never have known how smart he was . . . unless you consider all the stuff he came up with, like the Theory of Relativity and such.


I was a bit snarky with Sanjay Gupta when he helped spread nonsense about cell phone risks a while back. I guess it's only fair to post a link featuring him talking about something that is well within his expertise as a neurosurgeon. Specifically, he took a few moments to tell Wolf Blitzer about the features that made Albert Einstein's brain special.

I can't help but feel that this sort of analysis isn't much removed from phrenology, which is now one of the iconic forms of pseudoscience. It's true that functional MRI has established pretty clear connections between brain locations and various mental activities.  On the other hand, trying to get a handle on Einstein's genius by studying the shapes of the lobes of his lifeless brain is awfully reminiscent of the sorts of measurements that phrenologists made, without the inconvenience of a skull of course.

I hope research on his brain (or at least photos of it) can give us some real insight into the source of his genius, but this all strikes me as more creepy than useful for the time being.

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