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As with the previous illusion, the letters in the word LIFE appear wobbly when the background pattern is applied.
The peculiar story detailing how the brain of a genius ended up residing in two glass jars and why it's so special in the first place. During the following days, Keller would deftly wield the 12-inch blade of a sophisticated brain slicer and, following Harvey’s directions, carefully cut out discrete, fist-sized blocks of gray matter from which she whittled tissue-thin specimens ready for microscopic study. All this was done in the name of scientific research, because although this organ looked quite ordinary on the outside, it was hardly standard on the inside.
How the cerebrum of the Father of Relativity came to reside in a basement lab of the University of Pennsylvania and eventually Princeton Medical Center is only part of the intriguing secret life of Einstein’s brain. Nine hours after the demise of the most well-known mathematician on the planet, Harvey, then 43 and a member of the pathology department at what is now the University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro, performed the autopsy. During the autopsy, Harvey photographed the brain from every conceivable angle with his own 35mm Exakta camera. Abrams told a reporter many years later that he kept the eyes locked away in a safe deposit box in a bank vault. Earlier that same year, Lepore wrote an article based on previously published photographs Harvey had taken of Einstein’s brain after it was removed during the autopsy. Enter Dean Falk, an evolutionary anthropologist at the School for Advanced Research in Sante Fe, N.M. Concerned that something important related to Einstein might be lost if the boxes were misplaced, Lepore offered to help Wheatley find an appropriate repository.

Finally, in 2011, and only after numerous inquiries, Lepore was permitted to spend a single day (eight hours) with the contents of the boxes. The parietal lobes, according to neuroscientists, are highly involved in visual-spatial skills, the kind that Einstein employed in his legendary thought experiments, like chasing a light beam, riding in an elevator in free fall and rocketing past a clock tower in a streetcar. The first person who noted this asymmetry between Einstein’s right and left parietal lobes was Sandra Witelson, a neurobiologist, at McMaster University in Canada, which has one of the largest collections of normal brains (125) in the world. Instead, perhaps this unusually large part of the motor cortex had something to do with how Einstein referred to his creative process as not only visual, but muscular.
Elliot Krauss, chief of pathology at the University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro, has been caretaker of the brain tissue since Harvey passed down those two famous glass jars. Krauss considers himself the curator of the material and is both protective of it and circumspect about the public curiosity that still surrounds it. This is primarily why Krauss is reluctant to allow the jars to be viewed and doesn’t say where in the medical center they are stored. When he does finally take them out for his visitor to see, he carefully places the glass containers on his desk, not far from the photograph of his wife and three sons and an old hourglass. If there is any meaning at all in the gray matter of a man now dead fifty-eight years, it is hard to find it floating in those jars. Krauss has been a pathologist for three decades and has been at the medical center since 1989. When asked what will happen in 10 or 20 years to the remainder of Einstein’s brain still in his care, the 61-year-old doctor pauses thoughtfully.
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There, in a locked closet in the basement, sat numerous glass specimen jars in which human brains floated in liquid preservative.
Sitting at a table in one of the labs, he would stretch a pair of rubber gloves over his hands and carefully pluck the wet gray brain from its container. Eventually, Keller cut and sliced the brain into 240 pieces, then stained and mounted anywhere from 500 to 1,500 slides.
The journey of that brain is itself a testament to our obsession with genius, with the need to know where in that 3-pound mass of gray matter, that most evanescent of human experiences takes place: the leap of an imagination. For centuries, scientists have been consumed with trying to understand the origins of superior intelligence. Shortly thereafter, his report went missing, likely the trophy of a hospital insider, according to Lepore and others.
It was there, at the National Museum of Health and Medicine, that he uncovered a couple dozen photos of Einstein’s brain that had never before been seen by scientists. Products of a vivid imagination, it was these thought experiments that led to new concepts about space, time and gravity. This is where our most advanced thinking takes place, including planning, focused attention, perseverance and imagining scenarios — yes, those thought experiments again.

In fact few, if any, of the scientists who have studied the photographs or pieces or microscopic slides of Einstein’s brain believe they are any closer to finding his aha moments in his brain anatomy. When the medical center recently moved from its location on Witherspoon Street in Princeton to Plainsboro, he personally oversaw the transfer of the jars. The dozens of blocks of brain matter are not really visible — only the cheesecloth in which they are wrapped and the little round white tags attached to each piece. His brain bloomed with ideas he turned into images, images he turned into insights, insights he turned into universal truths. All rights reserved (About Us).The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of New Jersey On-Line LLC. In their anatomy classes, medical students regularly dissected these organs — all of them, that is, except the brain Harvey came to visit. Slowly, he would turn it this way and that way, examining the hard jelly-like folds and grooves of the cerebral cortex, while lab technician Marta Keller waited patiently nearby. What has never been clear is why the ophthalmologist was at the autopsy and and whether it was he or Harvey who removed the eyes. That discovery prompted writer Michael Paterniti to take a road trip with Harvey to deliver the brain to the mathematician’s granddaughter, Evelyn Einstein, in California. It was the pictures in his head and those pictures were likely products of a right parietal lobe working overtime. Like other researchers, she found the material too degraded to be of much use, but the photographs of the whole brain were more conducive to study. Evolutionary history tells us that an increase in brain volume was accompanied by an increased complexity in the convolutions of the brain.
Only six were performed at the medical center in 2011, and the new incarnation of the hospital in Plainsboro was built without a dedicated autopsy suite.
And if Einstein’s brilliance could somehow be pinned to his brain anatomy, what might that teach us about our own intellectual potential? The paper published last November by Lepore, Falk and Adrianne Noe of the National Museum of Health and Medicine may be the most recent, but it will surely not be the last.
Applying techniques from paleoanthropology, Falk confirmed the existence of this unusual structure. He played the violin for trick-or-treaters at Halloween, enjoyed vanilla ice cream with chocolate sprinkles and loved sailing, which he said helped clear his head.
But examining photographs of a part of the brain of this singular genius only whet Falk’s desire to see more. She contacted Lepore, who told her she was probably out of luck, but he would try to find out for sure.

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