QuickCheck: Is it true that Albert Einstein’s brain got stolen after he died?

German-born theoretical physicist Albert Einstein is widely considered to be one of the greatest and most influential scientists of all time.

ALBERT Einstein, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist who was well-known for developing the ground-breaking theory of relativity, also known as E=mc2, evidently possessed a unique brain.

The investigation of his mind is an intriguing subject that remains to capture the curiosity of both researchers and the general public at large to this day.

What we may not be aware of is that news of a scientist stealing Einstein's brain spread after his death.

Is there any truth to this story?



Einstein gave explicit orders for what would happen to him after passing, he was against having his brain or body examined.

The cause of Einstein's death was a ruptured aortic aneurysm in his abdomen and he died on April 18, 1955, at Princeton Hospital. He was around 76.

Although the majority of Einstein's remains were cremated soon after his death, Dr Thomas Harvey, a pathologist at Princeton Hospital at the time, performed an autopsy and removed Einstein's brain without the family's consent.

Dr Harvey's acts garnered attention in the media only a few days afterwards, and he quickly lost his job after the hospital confirmed his act.

Regardless of sacrificing his position, Harvey went ahead and preserved 240 parts of Einstein's brain in celluloid, a tough and stretchy kind of cellulose and kept the contents in his basement.

Claiming to be solely motivated by science, he went to the extent of transporting the brain samples across the country in an attempt to donate them to interested researchers and even to the U.S. Army.

Harvey was heavily criticised, but Einstein's son Hans Albert later accepted the research and requested that it be used only for scientific purposes.

The debate over Einstein's brain still continues to this day with many researchers concluding different outcomes and only a few publications resulted.

Before Harvey died in 2007, he donated the remaining samples to the National Museum of Health and Medicine.

You can now find the specimens of the brain on display at the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia.


1. https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/the-strange-story-of-einsteins-brain

2. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/premium/article/the-tragic-story-of-how-einsteins-brain-was-stolen-and-wasnt-even-special

3. www.cbc.ca/arts/the-man-who-stole-einstein-s-brain-hot-docs-interview-carolyn-abraham-michelle-shephard-1.6831222

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