Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Podcast: Gauss's Missing Brain

Carl Friedrich Gauss, one of the greatest mathematicians of all time, died in 1855. His brain has been resting at the University of Gottingen for the last 150 years—but under the wrong label.

A mix-up that appears to have taken place in the 1860's put Gauss's brain the wrong jar. It wasn't until this year, when scientists from the Max Planck institute were taking fMRI images of the brain for archival purposes, that neuroscientist Renate Schweizer noticed something was amiss. To most people, human brains all look the same. But Schweizer knows one brain from the next, and she realized this couldn't be the brain of Carl Friedrich Gauss—because she'd seen this brain before.

Listen to the podcast to learn how Schweizer identified the impostor brain, and where they found the real one.

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