Who stole Albert Einstein’s brain?

This article will answer “who stole Albert Einstein’s brain?” It will also discuss what was uncovered with his autopsy, what was his IQ, and the article will shed some light on different IQ ranges and what they mean. In the end, the article will answer some frequently asked questions.

Who stole Albert Einstein’s brain?

Einstein did not want his brain to be studied. However, while performing an autopsy on his brain Princeton pathologist Thomas Harvey, removed his brain and studied it for years without permission. Thomas Stoltz Harvey (October 10, 1912 – April 5, 2007) was an American pathologist who conducted the autopsy on Albert Einstein in 1955. The reason given was that they wanted to unlock several secrets of Einstein’s mind. 

Autopsy of Albert Einstein

Einstein’s brain was in the normal human range and weighed about 1,230 grams. His brain was sectioned and preserved into 170 pieces in a lab, which was at the University of Pennsylvania. This whole process took about three months. These 170 sections were further sliced in microscopic slivers, mounted onto slides, and stained. 

There were 12 sets of slides created with hundreds of slides in each set. Harvey kept around two complete sets for his own research study and the rest was distributed to the leading pathologists of the time. 

There was no permission to do this study from Einstein’s family, however, after learning that this would not be for public display, but rather just for scientific studies, the family gave a green signal and the study was continued. 

In 2010, all of the holdings related to Albert Einstein’s brain were transferred to the National Museum of Health and Medicine. This also included 14 photographs of the whole picture of the brain and was revealed to the public.

Studies of Einstein’s brain didn’t occur for more than 3 years after his death. It was in 1985, that some aspects of his studies were revealed, this showed that two parts of Einstein’s brain contained an unusually large number of non-neuronal cells, called glia for every nerve-transmitting cell in the brain. 

Studies in the later decade showed that his brain lacked a furrow normally seen in the parietal lobe. The scientists during that period linked the missing furrow to Einstein’s enhanced ability to think in three dimensions, as well as to his mathematical skills.

A recent study by Florida State University evolutionary anthropologist Dean Falk found that portions of the brain of Albert Einstein are unlike those of most people. These differences could be related to Einstein’s unique discoveries about the nature of space and time. The team used photographs of Einstein’s brain. 

These were captured shortly after his death, but not previously analyzed in detail. These photographs revealed that Einstein’s brain had a complex pattern of convolutions located in the prefrontal cortex. This plays an important for abstract thinking.

Findings from Diamond’s lab revealed that enhanced cognitive ability isn’t just a function of the number of glial cells, but also the number of connections between them. 

Einstein’s brain had an increased number of connections between brain cells. This helps in faster and more sophisticated communication. Einstein’s cortex–the outermost and newest layer of the brain which includes the prefrontal cortex, the temporal lobes and the hippocampus had many such connections. 

What was Albert Einstein’s IQ? 

Albert Einstein’s IQ scores ranged from 205 to 225 by different measures.

Descriptions of the I.Q. ranges

Profound and severe retardation is caused by brain damage which can occur during pregnancy, at birth, or early in life, and as such not genetic and not inherited.

Lower than 20 – Profound retardation

These individuals have a short life expectancy and usually are dependent on others with physical deformities. These individuals can learn only simple and basic tasks 

20-34 — Severely retarded

These individuals have some form of physical and motor coordination issues, along with difficulty in learning tasks and language. They are mostly dependent on others and have difficulty being employed.

35-49 -Moderately retarded

These individuals can learn simple life skills and employment tasks with special education. They are socially immature and can be independent to some extent. They may lack self-awareness, have an inner image of self, and realise that one is a person separate from the others around them. 

The most intelligent non-human animals, such as some crows, chimpanzees, bonobos, parrots, and dolphins, are in this range. As per the childhood age-peer scores, Bonobo or chimpanzee I.Q. scores are sometimes even quoted as high as 80 or 90, however, they correspond to adult I.Q. of only just over 40.

50-69 -Mildly retarded

These individuals can take care of themselves to some extent. They are employable in routinized jobs but require supervision. They can live alone as well but do best in supervised settings. They can be immature, but can adjust adequately to social settings and have no physical anomalies.

Moderate and mild retardation, are typically not caused by brain damage but part of the normal variance of intelligence, and therefore largely genetic and inherited.  People with moderate and mild forms of intellectual disability can physically have children and are most likely to be inherited.

70-79 — Borderline retarded

These individuals can be trained to some extent. They might have difficulty with everyday tasks such as; using a phone book, reading bus or train schedules, banking, filling out forms, using appliances like a video recorder, microwave oven, or computer, et cetera. 

They require help from others such as relatives or social workers in the management of their affairs. They require supervision, however, they can be employed. 

80-89 — Below average

These individuals perform relatively better as they can perform explicit routinized hands-on tasks without supervision with clear instructions. They can perform well in jobs such as Assembler, and food service. 

This I.Q range is the one which is most associated with violence. The basic causal mechanism behind the (statistical) relation between crime and below-average I.Q. is that such individuals can have trouble controlling their impulses, they are less likely to delay gratification, comprehend moral principles like the Golden Rule, and being overstrained by the cognitive demands of society. 

This is the range into which men of average or just above-average intelligence sink when under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol tends to reduce one I.Q. by up to about 25 points, this can explain why many drunk crimes happen as it leads to more violence and aggression. 

90-109 — Average

These individuals can learn tasks at a faster pace and can take appropriate decisions. They can function independently and can take on tasks such as 

Craftsman, sales, police officer, clerk. They are able to learn from written materials and are employable in senior positions.

110-119 — Above average

Able to learn in “college” format. Bachelor degrees. Manager, teacher, accountant. Just capable of taking high-range I.Q. tests.

120-129 — Above average

These individuals are capable of gathering and inferring their own information. Master degrees. Attorney, chemist, executive. About 93 % of high-range test candidates score I.Q. 120 or higher.

130-139 — “Gifted”

They are able to write a legible piece of text like an article or modest novel. They can be Minor literary figures. PhD in the “soft” sciences. 

This range has the mode of scores on high-range tests, and almost 80 % of high-range candidates score I.Q. 130 or higher. Regular psychology’s I.Q. tests should not be trusted beyond this range.

140-149 — Intelligent

These individuals are capable of rational communication and scientific work. These individuals can make remarkable scientific discoveries and advancements. 

It is not known if intelligence from about this range on is simply the extreme end of a normal distribution centred at 100 and largely formed by heredity, or if high intelligence in some cases has other causes (non-inherited or non-genetic) which make it deviate from the normal curve centred at 100 and form a “bump” in the far right tail, similar to the bump in the retarded range (which has non-inherited and non-genetic causes). 

Since there is no absolute or physical scale of intelligence to measure these questions, they sometimes prove to be meaningless altogether. It is also found that about one in two high-range test candidates scores I.Q. 140 or higher.

150-159 – Highly intelligent

About one in four high-range test candidates score I.Q. 150 or higher. Otherwise under investigation.

160-169 — Very highly intelligent

About one in ten high-range test candidates score I.Q. 160 or higher. Otherwise under investigation.

170-179 — Pervasively intelligent

About one in a hundred high-range test candidates score I.Q. 170 or higher. A report on this specific group is Statistics of the top scorers.

180-185 — Exceptionally intelligent

This kind of intelligence is very rare and only a few would expect the I.Q.’s to fall in this range. About one in a thousand high-range test candidates score I.Q. 180 or higher.

This indicates that Albert Einstein’s intelligence was way above any one of us can comprehend, it was in fact more than even the exceptionally intelligent category.


This article answers “who stole Albert Einstein’s brain?” It also discusses what was uncovered with his autopsy, what was his IQ, and the article sheds some light on different IQ ranges and what they mean. In the end, the article will answer some frequently asked questions.

Frequently Asked Questions: Who Stole Albert Einstein’s Brain?

Was Albert Einstein dyslexic?

Einstein is known for his brilliance in both math and physics. however, it has been suggested that he had difficulty acquiring language and thus has led some people to suggest that he may have had dyslexia. He also had late speech development and could not speak until he was six years old. 

Was Albert Einstein left-handed?

No, Albert Einstein was right-handed. However, his autopsies suggest that his brain was not the typical left-side dominant as he had problems with language and speech.

What is Einstein Syndrome?

Einstein syndrome is a condition that is said to occur when a child has a late onset of language or speech fluency but has giftedness in other areas, especially with regard to analytical thinking. Eventually, the child will learn to speak with no issues, but their giftedness will be exceptional in other areas (Sowell, 2021).


Sowell, T. (2021). The Einstein Syndrome: Bright children who talk late. Hachette UK.

Prabhakaran, S., Bramlage, M., Edgar, M. A., Diamond, B., Hardin, J. A., & Volpe, B. T. (2005). Overwhelming leukoencephalopathy as the only sign of neuropsychiatric lupus. The Journal of Rheumatology, 32(9), 1843-1845.

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