When most people think genius, they think of Albert Einstein. Did you know that his brain was practically stolen by the eccentric doctor that performed his autopsy? Before he died, he requested that his whole body be cremated immediately, and his ashes were scattered in an unknown place.
Einstein didn’t want his remains to be used for experiments or as a shrine. His closest friend, Otto Nathan, fulfilled his wishes, but this was after a pathologist, Thomas Harvey, removed his brain. Einstein’s family and friends were appalled, but Hans Albert was later convinced to give consent.
The doctor kept the brain in a glass jar of formalin inside a cider box and under a cooler. But in 1998, he kept it in Princeton Hospital and sent little chunks of it to scientists that asked.
Albert Einstein is probably the only 20th-century genius whose brain was stolen. He is the staple of genius, which is quite surprising since many other geniuses in the early 20th century had similar accomplishments to him.
Einstein is well-known as the mastermind behind the Theory of Relativity and E=mc2, but there’s more to him than just the surface-level genius that he is known for.
He was born when newspapers and radios were popular, and they often reported his theories as a science that no one else could understand but himself. This popularized him as a genius, especially with his excellent sense of humor and the way he acted as if he was better than the rest of everyone else in a fundamental way.
There’s no doubt that Einstein made significant contributions to science, but he was well-suited as a celebrity in many other ways. His fame stems from society’s need to have a celebrity, and his work as a civil activist also made him famous. Even the FBI kept tabs on him!
It is often believed that some of Einstein’s theories would exist today even if he never lived. This is because many other scientists worked out relatively before him, although he is the one that perfected it. Also, he wasn’t the only one to make great discoveries in the 20th century.
There were other geniuses like Erwin Schrodinger, Marie Curie, Werner Heisenberg and Niels Bohr. And they weren’t lesser geniuses than him, too, with Curie winning two Nobel Prizes and making outstanding contributions to science. She even had the crazy hair too.
But Einstein was a famed scientist, there and now. His genius was different from others, and once a person becomes famous, they stay that way. If he had been born in another era, he might not be the symbol of genius today. But he lived at the right time, got the proper exposure, and was born at a time when science was an individual journey, not a team sport.
Einstein met the stereotypes of genius in some ways, as he was eccentric. He wore sweatshirts and didn’t like wool sweaters, he wore women’s shoes on vacation and didn’t like socks, he was a socialist until Hitler, he was anti-racist, and he had a troubled personal life.
As much as he was eccentric, he also wasn’t perfect. And some exciting facts might make you wonder if that’s how a genius is.
You might not expect this from the most famous genius in the world, but Einstein was a late talker. He didn’t speak until he was four years old, causing his parents to suspect that he had a mental disability. He was also born with a misshaped head, although this later became better as he grew up.
His late talking influenced the studies of Thomas Sowell, a social theorist. He used the term Einstein Syndrome when referring to brilliant children who were late talkers.
Although Einstein didn’t fail math, as the rumors say, he failed a couple of his other classes. He failed his politics, literature, and French exams when applying to Zurich Polytechnic. He passed when he took them the second time.
He also wasn’t a perfect pupil, even blowing up a lab during an experiment one time. Although he later passed and got his degree, many of his professors didn’t like him and wanted him out of school. He even spent two years trying to find a job after getting his teaching diploma.
Einstein was also very interested in politics. At 16, he renounced his citizenship to avoid military service and was stateless until he was 21 when he got his Swiss citizenship. He worked with different leaders like Churchill to save thousands of Jewish scientists and was wanted by the Nazis.
He fought against racism and war, advocated for civil rights, and called racism a ‘disease.’ He had friendly relations with Africans. He spoke against the nuclear war even if he indirectly contributed to making it by recommending atomic bombs to Roosevelt. He also supported Zionist causes and was asked to be the president of Israel, but he refused.
Einstein also cheated on his wife with his cousin. Although his wife was a brilliant physicist, their relationship was strained, and they enjoyed studying together. Einstein wrote a long list of conditions that his wife was expected to follow, including not expecting any affection from him.