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On April 17, 1955, the great mathematician and physicist Albert Einstein was admitted to Princeton Hospital complaining of chest pains. He died early the next morning (April 18) of a burst aortic aneurysm. He was cremated, and his ashes were scattered in an undisclosed location. Before the cremation, however, his brain was removed by Dr. Thomas Harvey, a pathologist at the hospital who wanted to know what it was that made Einstein a genius. Harvey did not have permission to remove the brain, and when the fact came to light and he refused to return the specimen, he was dismissed from the hospital. For almost three decades, Harvey kept Einstein's brain in his home, constantly on the lookout for researchers willing to study it. Most, however, dismissed the idea that Einstein's brain was physiologically different in any meaningful way. In the early 1980s, however, Harvey was contacted by Marian Diamond, a neuroscientist from UCLA who proposed to count certain cells in the scientist's brain and compare them with normal specimens. Although other scientists questioned the validity of her methods, she found that Einstein did indeed have an unusual neuron-to-glial-cell ratio in one key area of his brain. Finally, in 1997, Harvey embarked on a cross-country road trip to return the brain to Einstein's granddaughter in California. Ironically, she didn't want it and the great scientist's brain was eventually returned to the same pathology lab at Princeton Hospital where it's strange journey had begun more than forty years earlier.

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