The pathologist who performed the autopsy on Albert Einstein in 1955 removed his brain and kept it for study. It was hoped the physiology of Einstein's brain might offer clues about his scientific genius. However, the pathologist had no credentials as a neuroscientist, and Einstein's gray matter mostly languished in glass jars behind a cooler in his office, pickled in formaldehyde. More than 40 years passed before tissue samples found their way into more capable hands, and scientists were able to draw some conclusions. It turns out the size and weight of Einstein's brain were unexceptional. However, the parietal lobes, which are associated with mathematical reasoning, music and visual imagery, were about 15 percent wider than normal.
Einstein's brain was as devoutly preserved as the relics of any saint. The remains of saints and martyrs have been venerated within the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches since at least the fourth century. Among these saintly relics are an astonishing variety of body parts, including fingers, toes, teeth, hair, hearts, blood and even nail clippings. Curiously, although there are also some heads, no one thought to extract a brain. Perhaps this is because it never occurred to anyone that you needed to be smarter than everyone else to know the truth. Until recent centuries, the truth became manifest when God revealed it. In a scientific age, the truth becomes manifest when someone discovers it. In moving from what is shown to what is known, the focus inevitably shifts from God to man, and thence to the body part most closely associated with cerebral activity.
Einstein had one of the greatest minds of this or any age, but he was never persuaded that the secrets of the universe would yield to the force of intellect alone. He did not believe in a personal God but had a deep sense of the mystery of creation. In one of his letters, he observed that "every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe -- a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble." Elsewhere, he concluded that "what a man can wrest from Truth by passionate striving is utterly infinitesimal."
Michael Paterniti, Driving Mr. Albert: A Trip Across America with Albert Einstein's Brain