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Science

Probe of Einstein's Brain Reveals Clues To His Genius 195

Posted by timothy
from the so-it-wasn't-the-pipe-after-all dept.
sciencehabit writes "Smart, successful, and well-connected: a good description of Albert Einstein and his brain. The father of relativity theory didn't live to see modern brain imaging techniques, but after his death his brain was sliced into sections and photographed. Now, scientists have used those cross-sectional photos to reveal a larger-than-average corpus callosum — the bundle of nerve fibers connecting the brain's two hemispheres. The thickness of Einstein's corpus callosum was greater than the average, and more nerve fibers connected key regions such as the two sides of the prefrontal cortex, which are responsible for complex thought and decision-making. Combined with previous evidence that parts of the physicist's brain were unusually large and intricately folded, the researchers suggest that this feature helps account for his extraordinary gifts." Abstract (full article is paywalled) at the journal Brain.
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Probe of Einstein's Brain Reveals Clues To His Genius

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  • by MadCow-ard (330423) on Saturday October 05, 2013 @11:24AM (#45044843)
    I've read a lot about neuroscience discoveries and interesting abnormalities and didn't know the direct correlation between the corpus collosum thickness and intelligence. Ok, so when someone claims something like this article I think - bah... another stupid claim about Einstein. But this time there is some merit to the claim. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2754582/ [nih.gov] And yes, his other brain differences were know for a while, so this seems to be a new revelation based on new evidence of the correlation and the discovered photos.
  • by mandginguero (1435161) on Saturday October 05, 2013 @11:27AM (#45044869)

    Hmm, so we're comparing photographs of a fixed/preserved and sliced brain with those acquired by an MRI. Does anyone know what kind of variance or error these different imaging techniques introduce? There is enough variability in brain size and location of features that normal comparisons of one person's brain via MRI with another person's brain are rather meaningless. The standard procedure is to warp MRI brain scans to a common brain, and then run the comparisons of warped/normalized images....

  • Re:Yes, but ... (Score:4, Informative)

    by MadCow-ard (330423) on Saturday October 05, 2013 @11:33AM (#45044935)
    it is just correlation, not a causation. That is a much higher bar to clear.
  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Saturday October 05, 2013 @01:11PM (#45045757)

    That isn't true at all. Perpetual motion is an innate property of the universe itself on many scales.

    Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof.

    On the macro scale there is the constant expansions and contraction. All energy and particles are in a state of perpetual motion. The only reason anything ever appears to not be moving is because the scale you are focusing on is moving at a rate comparable or slower than the rate your energy is moving at on that scale.

    No, it's because I understand the first and second laws of Thermodynamics. The fact that things are in motion does not change the fact that (a) energy can be neither created nor destroyed, and (b) the entropy of an isolated system never decreases, because isolated systems spontaneously evolve toward thermodynamic equilibrium; which is to say... it stops moving. All that motion you're describing is part of an open system, not closed. And even it will eventually stop; See also -- heat death of the universe.

    If your body and mind moved at the speed of rock the landscape would be bubbling (rock moves like a fluid, rising when heated, sinking when cool, and yes I'm referring to the 'solid' stuff) and erosion on a mountain might appear to be sand being blown off a dune. People might look like sparks or possibly move so fast as to not be observable.

    Look, if you want to play games with optical illusions and relativistic effects, rock on with your socks on... but no physical laws are being broken here. Your perpetual motion machine... can't exist.

    Now, if you have some proof that the laws of thermodynamics are broken, the second law in particular... please step forward and collect about 50 consecutive Nobel Prizes. Otherwise, you need to accept that perpetual motion machines... are a scientific impossibility. The end.

The reason that every major university maintains a department of mathematics is that it's cheaper than institutionalizing all those people.

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