ECNUers Make New Discovery of the Corpus Callosum of Albert Einstein's Brain


On Sep. 24, “The corpus callosum of Albert Einstein's brain: another clue to his high intelligence?” written by Men Weiwei, a PhD. candidate of the Department of Physics, ECNU, Shanghai key Laboratory of Magnetic Resonance, with Associate Professor Fan Mingxia as the Correspondent author, was published in Brain, a peer-reviewed scientific journal of neurology published by Oxford University Press.



Men Weiwei  is at work.


Sir Albert Einstein was arguably the greatest physicist in the 20th century and his extraordinary intelligence has long intrigued both scientists and the general public. Despite several studies that focused mainly on the histological and morphological features of Einstein’s brain after his death, the substrates of Einstein’s genius are still a mystery.


The corpus callosum is the largest nerve fibre bundle that connects the cortical regions of the cerebral hemispheres in human brains and it plays an essential role in the integration of information transferred between the hemispheres over thousands of axons. To discover the mystery of the physicist’s extraordinary intelligence, Men Weiwei developed a data processing software for analysing corpus callosum, which broke the technology monopoly of other research groups in this field. With their own software, Men and Fan successfully made a study in the thickness of the corpus callosum of Einstein’s brain.





To examine whether there are regional callosal differences between the brain of Einstein and those of ordinary people, data sets from two different age groups were used in the study. The study shows that Einstein’s corpus callosum is thicker and the connectivity between the two hemispheres of the brain is generally enhanced in Einstein compared with other people.



Prof. Dean Falk provides great support for Men weiwei's research. 


Men Weiwei and Associate Professor Fan Mingxia (L).


The results of Men and Fan’s study suggest that Einstein’s intellectual gifts were not only related to specializations of cortical folding and cyto architecture in certain brain regions, but also involved coordinated communication between the cerebral hemispheres. Last but not the least, the improved approach for corpus callosum measurement used in this study may have more general applications in corpus callosum studies.


The study gained great support from Dean Falk, a professor of Anthropology at Florida State University, and an American academic anthropologist who specializes in the evolution of the brain and cognition in higher primates.



Written by: Liu Jinyu


East China Normal University