• Vol. 02
  • Chapter 07
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Einstein’s Brain

(Found poem: from ‘The Tragic Story of how Einstein’s Brain was Stolen, and Wasn’t Even Special’ by Virgina Hughes.)

I left behind specific instructions. I did not want my brain or body studied, worshipped as if I was some sort of god. Told them to cremate my remains, scatter the ashes, discourage idolaters.

The day I died, Princeton Hospital’s on-duty pathologist removed my brain without permission. He took me home, laid me in a bath of celloidin - and as if that was not enough, took the scalpel and carved me into pieces, divided me into two jars and hid me in his Philadelphia basement.

The pathologist’s wife complained. Did not want a brain in her basement, even mine. He moved me, kept me in a cider box under a beer cooler in Wichita Kansas, studied me in his spare time.

Boasted to his neighbour, William Burroughs (some sort of poet), that he could have a slice of Einstein any time he wished.

My Brodmann Area 39 shows a significantly smaller neuron-to glia ratio, apparently. Bad science. The control groups average brain was that of a 47 year old. I died at 76. Bad science. The control’s brains were nice and fresh. Mine had been stuck in jars in Philadelphia basements and Kansas beer coolers.

My Brodmann Area 9 contains thinner tissue, apparently. Bad Science. That’s based on one square millimetre of brain. They inferred from that millimetre that I had more densely packed neurons, so cell-to-cell messages had to travel shorter distances, which might mean faster processing speed.


Einstein’s Brain

I wish I could tell them not to waste their time. I knew that if given the chance, bad scientists would pore over my neurons and glia, sulci and gyri, and make grand pronouncements about what makes a genius.

And I knew it would be bullshit.