There are six main differences between German physicist Albert Einstein’s brain and those of ordinary human beings. First, Einstein had a greater number of glial brain cells to feed the neurons in his brain, suggesting the nerve cells in his brain needed more fueling cells because they consumed more nourishment as a result of higher brain activity. Secondly, at roughly 1,200 grams (2.64 pounds), Einstein’s brain weighed at least 200 grams (0.44 pounds) less than the average male brain for his time period. Thirdly, portions of Einstein’s brain, such as the cerebral cortex, were thinner, yet more saturated with neurons, than corresponding areas inside mainstream brains.
A fourth difference is that deep furrows, formally called sulci, sliced Einstein’s brain in the right parietal lobe and the left parietal lobe; these two areas are responsible for calculations and math aptitude. Also, Einstein’s brain had an unusually wide berth that was nearly 20-percent wider than the average human. The sixth and final difference was that a fragment of Einstein’s brain was missing; not only was his lateral sulcus, or Sylvian fissure, shorter than normal, but it was not whole.
The abundance of glial cells in the mathematical genius has been the most researched anomaly within Einstein’s brain. Neurologists who have studied the high percentage of glial cells in the left and right sides of both the frontal lobe and the parietal lobe of Einstein’s brain theorize that this is evidence his brain consumed more energy than normal people. Every human brain is composed of both nerve cells and glial cells. While the nerve cells create synapses while synthesizing information, memory, language and learning processes, the glial cells are the assistant cells that provide energy for all the brain’s processes, including thinking and communicating.
Without glial cells, neurons could not function. Besides providing nutrition, glial cells insulate neurons and clean the brain of dead nerve cells. The increase in glial cells was located mostly on the left side of Einstein’s brain, which would correlate with his greater ability for left-brain logic and analysis.
The differences found in Einstein’s brain have been subject to controversy. Many critics chide that researchers only studied four small sections of the brain and not an extensive amount. Also, the brain was compared to an extremely small control group of less than a dozen people, limiting comparison. Furthermore, many of the subjects in the control group were at least two decades younger than Einstein, prompting critics to suggest his brain disparities might merely be linked to his age. The lack of comparison to other geniuses and innovators of Einstein’s caliber is also a drawback, critics claim.