A new iPad app was launched yesterday offering detailed scans of legendary physicist Albert Einstein's brain, the first time that the images have been made available for widespread public viewing. Developed by the National Museum of Health and Medicine Chicago — an offshoot of the Department of Defense's National Museum of Health and Medicine in Silver Spring, Maryland — the app uses slides made by the pathologist Thomas Harvey, who performed Einstein's autopsy in 1955.
The brain itself has had a varied history since its owner's cremation, having been divided into 240 pieces stored in jars in Harvey's house. The eccentric doctor gave away sections of the organ to various researchers over the years, including Dr. Marian Diamond at UC Berkeley, before donating the remainder to Dr. Elliot Krauss at the Princeton University Medical Center in 1998.
As the Associated Press reports, slides of the brain were used in a 1999 Lancet study which demonstrated that Einstein's parietal lobe — a region responsible for processing mathematics and language — was 15 percent wider than normal. Selling for $9.99, the NMHMC's app is expected to be of interest to remote researchers and other interested parties unable to study the slides first-hand.