neurosicence

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Dr. Thomas Harvey — The Man Who Removed Einstein’s Brain,

When on April 18th, 1955 the great scientist and icon Albert Einstein passed away at Princeton Hospital in New Jersey, it fell to pathologist Dr. Thomas Harvey to confirm cause of death.  After a brief autopsy Harvey was able to determine that Einstein had died of heart failure.  However it was not Einstein’s heart that Harvey was interested in, but something else.  Without family or hospital permission Dr. Harvey sawed into Einsteins cranium, removing a precious organ that had helped changed the world in the 20th century.  Yes, Dr. Harvey removed Einstein’s brain.

The motivation for removing Einstein’s brain was simple; scientific understanding of what separates geniuses from the rest of us. Such a discovery would be momentous, earning Dr. Harvey Einsteinesque fame, perhaps even a Nobel Prize.  Dr. Harvey preserved the brain and divided it into 240 sections.  He also made several microscope slides of several sections of Einstein’s brain.  After removing Einstein’s brain, he obviously had some explaining to do as he had grossly infringed upon the Einstein family’s rights and turned medical ethics on it’s head.  Dr. Harvey convinced the family that it was all for the better of science.  The family consented to Harvey’s work as long as the results were published in a scholarly manner, free of publicity.

Unfortunately Dr. Harvey was no neuroscientist and after years of studying the brain was unable to discover any meaningful results.  Over time Dr. Harvey morphed from an ambitious scientist to a creepy guy with Einstein’s brain.  After several decades of obsession with the brain his wife divorced him and he was forced to relocate during his studies.  By the 1980’s Dr. Harvey was had to admit that he was in over his head, and began to donate samples to various scientists and researchers.  In 1996 he donated the last bits to Dr. Elliot Kraus. It was then that the brain was subjected to serious scientific examination.

Today researchers have discovered that there are indeed profound differences between Einstein’s brain and the thinking muscle of the average Joe.  Einstein’s brain sported a higher than usual number of glial cells, indicating the Einstein’s neurons used more energy than normal.  The inferior parietal regions of his brain, responsible for  visuospatial cognition, mathematical thought, and imagery of movement, are much larger than the average brain.  

Today Einstein’s brain remains preserved at Princeton Hospital, NJ. Dr. Thomas Harvey passed away in 2007.

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It’s been slow these past few months as I was spending my free time doing some fun projects with the kids. Starting to get back into the groove again. 


Here’s the last few pages, and of course you can see them all on lawcomic.net (or even see them in their full 2800px 300dpi glory by donating $10 or more on my Patreon).

Research Opportunities at Reed --Grace '16

Last spring, my chum Emily, who was a freshman at the time, was discussing summer plans with her advisor, Paul Currie in the Psychology department. At the end of their meeting, Emily became a new member of Professor Currie’s research team.

Over the summer, Emily and seven other Reedies explored how, in simple terms, peptide makes people hungry or anxious. After several rat incisions, much testing and pipetting, these Reedie researchers submitted two abstracts to the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, and later went to the Society’s convention in the fall. This experience let Emily and her fellow students practice presenting lectures, and learn about what other undergrads are researching in their labs.

Professors are willing and eager to get their students and advisees to engage in their research over the summer, as well as during the school year.

– Grace Fetterman ‘16

A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future

Daniel H. Pink

The future belongs to a different kind of person with a different kind of mind: artists, inventors, storytellers-creative and holistic “right-brain” thinkers whose abilities mark the fault line between who gets ahead and who doesn’t.

Drawing on research from around the world, Pink outlines the six fundamentally human abilities that are absolute essentials for professional success and personal fulfillment-and reveals how to master them. A Whole New Mind takes readers to a daring new place, and a provocative and necessary new way of thinking about a future that’s already here.