CLOSE
Original image
Getty Images

Physical Evidence Confirms Albert Einstein's Brain Was Superior to Yours

Original image
Getty Images


His brain is legendary: When TIME named Albert Einstein its Person of the Century in 1999, the magazine called the shaggy-haired physicist a "genius among geniuses," whose understanding of the universe represented the "embodiment of pure intellect."

What few people know, however, is that within a few hours of his death in 1955, Einstein's brain was removed from his skull and photographed from different angles before it was sectioned into 240 blocks — all to advance the sciences he loved so dearly. Many of the photographs, however, were lost or misplaced over the decades. Now analysis of 14 recently resurfaced photos reveals what we've suspected all along: Einstein's physical brain, says Doyle Rice at USA Today, "was better than yours." Though not at first glance.

According to the study from Florida State University, the pre-dissected brain doesn't initially appear all that different from the average person's. "Although the overall size and asymmetrical shape of Einstein's brain was normal," writes study author Dean Falk, an evolutionary anthropologist from Florida State University, "the prefrontal, somatosensory, primary motor, parietal, temporal, and occipital cortices were extraordinary."

The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain in charge of abstract thinking and thought analysis — responsible for digesting sensory data before making any decisions. As such, it's also the most "strongly implicated" as a sign of intelligence. Analysis of these photographs revealed that Einstein's prefrontal cortex is more complex and possessed a far greater surface area than most people's, which may explain some of his "remarkable cognitive abilities," said Falk.

Sources: TIME, TG Daily, USA Today, WiseGeek

Original image
iStock
arrow
science
Belly Flop Physics 101: The Science Behind the Sting
Original image
iStock

Belly flops are the least-dignified—yet most painful—way of making a serious splash at the pool. Rarely do they result in serious physical injury, but if you’re wondering why an elegant swan dive feels better for your body than falling stomach-first into the water, you can learn the laws of physics that turn your soft torso a tender pink by watching the SciShow’s video below.

Original image
iStock // lucamato
arrow
science
What's the Saltiest Water in the World?
Original image
iStock // lucamato

Saltwater is common around the world—indeed, salty oceans cover more than two-thirds of the globe. Typical saltwater found in our oceans is about 3.5% salt by weight. But in some areas, we find naturally occurring saltwater that's far saltier. The saltiest water yet discovered is more than 12 times saltier than typical seawater.

Gaet’ale is a pond in Ethiopia which currently holds the record as the most saline water body on Earth. The water in that pond is 43.3% dissolved solids by weight—most of that being salt. This kind of water is called hypersaline for its extreme salt concentration.

In the video below, Professor Martyn Poliakoff explains this natural phenomenon—why it's so salty, how the temperature of the pond affects its salinity, and even why this particular saltwater has a yellow tint. Enjoy:

For the paper Poliakoff describes, check out this abstract.

SECTIONS

More from mental floss studios