Monday, July 8, 2013

Einstein's Brain

Here's an article from late last year about usual features of Einstein's brain which might explain why he was capable of more complex thought than other people.

It looks as if there were more 'folds' in his brain.  What's a fold?  If you take a piece of paper you can fold it into two parts or many more parts.  You 'bend' the paper, basically.

The article asks the question: Was Einstein a genius because of the anatomy of his brain or because of how his parents raised him?  An expert suggests that it was a combination of these factors that led to Einstein's genius.

The article:

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

a genius - the opposite term is a moron.  You sometimes hear this term used by insensitive and irresponsible people as an insult in America: "You moron!" A genius is someone with a very high IQ (Intelligence Quotient). 

a stunning insight - insight means a special, deeper knowledge.  Stunning means amazing, spectacular.

preserved - saved in a special liquid.

convolutions - like little tunnels turning in different directions

a saga - a long story

executor - a legal representative who took care of Einstein's affairs after he died

a pathologist - a type of doctor who focuses on diagnosing diseases by examining tissue samples.

embedded in a resin-like substance - placed inside a substance that was similar to resin.  Resin is a thick type of half-liquid and half-solid material.  It is a light brown color.

a peer-reviewed publication - a journal or magazine in which other researchers in a field look over and approve articles before they are published.

scattered - spread all over the place -

density of neurons - a greater thickness of brain cells

gross anatomy - larger or overall anatomy

to facilitate - to make something easier

perseverance - to keep going, not stopping when faced with an obstacle

expanded - larger

a metaphor - a symbol, a creative or visual way to think of something which can't be seen

subjective - the opposite of objective, if you are subjective you are basing your ideas or opinions on how you feel and not the 'facts.'

abstract - not concrete, not 'real' or substantial.  If you are good at abstract thinking, you are good at coming up with new ideas or concepts.

predisposed him to be - if you are predisposed to do or be something, you are already likely to do it or ready to do it.  If you are hungry, you are predisposed to eat.  If your brain is more complex, you are predisposed to think about complex subjects.

nature or nurture - Is a person's personality due to nature or nurture?  Nature means biology, chemistry and genetics - to nurture a child means to raise a child.  So 'nurture' in this case means the environment.  Are we born the way we become or are we products of our environment?

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