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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Download genius: Einstein's brain is now an iPad app

Carla K Johnson reports, "The brain that revolutionised physics now can be downloaded as an app for $9.99. But it won't help you win at Angry Birds. While Albert Einstein's genius isn't included, an exclusive iPad application launched on Tuesday promises to make detailed images of his brain more accessible to scientists than ever before. Teachers, students and anyone who's curious also can get a look."

Photo: Hindustan Times

A medical museum under development in Chicago obtained funding to scan and digitize nearly 350 fragile and priceless slides made from slices of Einstein's brain after his death in 1955. The application will allow researchers and novices to peer into the eccentric Nobel winner's brain as if they were looking through a microscope.

"I can't wait to find out what they'll discover," said Steve Landers, a consultant for the National Museum of Health and Medicine Chicago who designed the app. "I'd like to think Einstein would have been excited."

After Einstein died, a pathologist named Thomas Harvey performed an autopsy, removing the great man's brain in hopes that future researchers could discover the secrets behind his genius.

Annese has preserved and digitized another famous brain, that of Henry Molaison, who died in 2008 after living for decades with profound amnesia. Known as "H.M." in scientific studies, Molaison participated during his life in research that revealed new insights on learning and memory.

A searchable website with images of more than 2,400 slides of Molaison's entire brain will be available to the public in December, Annese said.
Read more...

Related links
The National Museum of Health and Medicine
http://nmhmchicago.net/harvey/
Visit iTunes to buy and download apps
 
About the Harvey Collection
 
Dr. Thomas Harvey was the pathologist who performed the autopsy on Albert Einstein at Princeton Hospital on April 18, 1955.

Dr. Harvey removed the brain for study, segmented the brain into approximately 170 parts, roughly grouped by the various lobes and brainstem, and then sectioned those parts into hundreds of microscope sections. These sections were mounted on microscope slides and stained to highlight both cellular structure and nerve conductive tissue. Harvey’s estate donated the collection to the National Museum of Health and Medicine in 2010. In the spring of 2012, the National Museum of Health and Medicine Chicago (NMHMChicago) obtained private funding support to begin digitizing this collection.

This app makes available to the public the portion of the collection that has been digitized to-date. Subsequent releases of this app will add additional materials as their digitization can be completed.

Source: Hindustan Times and The National Museum of Health and Medicine


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