Thomas Stoltz Harvey

Last updated
Thomas Stoltz Harvey
BornOctober 10, 1912
DiedApril 5, 2007 (aged 94)
Known forConducting the autopsy of Albert Einstein's brain, saving and storing it
Scientific career
Fields Pathology

Thomas Stoltz Harvey (October 10, 1912 – April 5, 2007) was a pathologist who conducted the autopsy on Albert Einstein in 1955. Harvey later kept Einstein's brain without permission for decades.

Autopsy surgical procedure that consists of a thorough examination of a corpse

An autopsy is a surgical procedure that consists of a thorough examination of a corpse by dissection to determine the cause, mode and manner of death or to evaluate any disease or injury that may be present for research or educational purposes.. Autopsies are usually performed by a specialized medical doctor called a pathologist. In most cases, a medical examiner or coroner can determine cause of death and only a small portion of deaths require an autopsy.

Albert Einstein German-born physicist and developer of the theory of relativity

Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics. His work is also known for its influence on the philosophy of science. He is best known to the general public for his mass–energy equivalence formula , which has been dubbed "the world's most famous equation". He received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics "for his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect", a pivotal step in the development of quantum theory.

Contents

Early career

Harvey studied at Yale University as an undergraduate and later as a medical student under Dr. Harry Zimmerman. In his third year of medical school he contracted tuberculosis and was bedridden for the next year in a sanatorium, claiming it to be one of the biggest disappointments of his life. [1]

Yale University Private research university in New Haven, Connecticut, United States

Yale University is a private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701, it is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine Colonial Colleges chartered before the American Revolution. Yale consistently ranks among the top universities in the world.

Tuberculosis Infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease usually caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) bacteria. Tuberculosis generally affects the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body. Most infections do not have symptoms, in which case it is known as latent tuberculosis. About 10% of latent infections progress to active disease which, if left untreated, kills about half of those affected. The classic symptoms of active TB are a chronic cough with blood-containing mucus, fever, night sweats, and weight loss. It was historically called "consumption" due to the weight loss. Infection of other organs can cause a wide range of symptoms.

Autopsy of Albert Einstein

The autopsy was conducted at Princeton Hospital, Princeton NJ, on April 18 at 8:00 am. Einstein's brain weighed 1,230 grams - well within the normal human range. Dr. Harvey sectioned the preserved brain into 170 pieces [2] in a lab at the University of Pennsylvania, a process that took three full months to complete. Those 170 sections were then sliced in microscopic slivers and mounted onto slides and stained. There were 12 sets of slides created with hundreds of slides in each set. Harvey retained two complete sets for his own research and distributed the rest to handpicked leading pathologists of the time. No permission for the removal and preservation had been given by Einstein or his family, but when the family learned about the study, permission to proceed with the study was granted as long as the results were only published in scientific journals and not sensationalised. [3]

University of Pennsylvania Private Ivy League research university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania is a private Ivy League research university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is one of the nine colonial colleges founded prior to the Declaration of Independence and the first institution of higher learning in the United States to refer to itself as a university. Benjamin Franklin, Penn's founder and first president, advocated an educational program that trained leaders in commerce, government, and public service, similar to a modern liberal arts curriculum.

Theft of Einstein's brain

In August, 1978, New Jersey Monthly reporter Steven Levy published an article, "I Found Einstein's Brain", based on his interview with Dr. Harvey when he was living in Wichita, Kansas. In 1988, Dr. Harvey retired and moved to Lawrence, Kansas. In 1996, Harvey moved from Weston, Missouri to Titusville in Hopewell Township, Mercer County, New Jersey. [4] In the 1994 documentary Relics: Einstein's Brain , Kinki University Professor Sugimoto Kenji asks Harvey for a piece of the brain, to which Harvey consents and slices a portion of the brain-stem. Footage shows Harvey segmenting and handing over to Sugimoto a portion. [5] In 1998, Harvey delivered the remaining uncut portion of Einstein's brain to Dr. Elliot Krauss, a pathologist at University Medical Center at Princeton. As Marian Diamond and associates discovered, certain parts of Einstein's brain were found to have a higher proportion of glial cells than the average male brain. [6]

Wichita, Kansas City and county seat in Kansas, United States

Wichita is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kansas and the county seat of Sedgwick County. As of 2018, the estimated population of the city was 389,255. Wichita is the principal city of the Wichita metropolitan area which had an estimated population of 644,888 in 2018.

Lawrence, Kansas City and County seat in Kansas, United States

Lawrence is the county seat of Douglas County and sixth-largest city in Kansas. It is located in the northeastern sector of the state, astride Interstate 70, between the Kansas and Wakarusa Rivers. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 87,643; though by 2017 the population rose to 96,892. Lawrence is a college town and the home to both the University of Kansas and Haskell Indian Nations University.

Weston, Missouri City in Missouri, United States

Weston is a city in Platte County, Missouri, United States. The population was 1,641 at the 2010 census.

In 2005, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Einstein's death, the 92-year-old Harvey gave interviews regarding the history of the brain from his home in New Jersey. [7]

Harvey died at the University Medical Center at Princeton on April 5, 2007.

Legacy

In 2010, Harvey's heirs transferred all of his holdings constituting the remains of Albert Einstein's brain to the National Museum of Health and Medicine, including 14 photographs of the whole brain (which is now in fragments) never before revealed to the public. [8] [9]

Albert Einsteins brain the preserved brain of scientist Albert Einstein

The brain of Albert Einstein has been a subject of much research and speculation. Einstein's brain was removed within seven and a half hours of his death. The brain has attracted attention because of Einstein's reputation as one of the foremost geniuses of the 20th century, and apparent regularities or irregularities in the brain have been used to support various ideas about correlations in neuroanatomy with general or mathematical intelligence. Scientific studies have suggested that regions involved in speech and language are smaller, while regions involved with numerical and spatial processing are larger. Other studies have suggested an increased number of glial cells in Einstein's brain.

National Museum of Health and Medicine museum in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States

The National Museum of Health and Medicine (NMHM) is a museum in Silver Spring, Maryland, near Washington, DC. The museum was founded by U.S. Army Surgeon General William A. Hammond as the Army Medical Museum (AMM) in 1862; it became the NMHM in 1989 and relocated to its present site at the Army's Forest Glen Annex in 2011. An element of the Defense Health Agency (DHA), the NMHM is a member of the National Health Sciences Consortium.

Cultural references

The story of Harvey's theft of Einstein's brain, and its subsequent study, was exploited in an episode of the Science Channel show Dark Matters: Twisted But True , a series which explores the darker side of scientific discovery and experimentation, which premiered on September 7, 2011. "The Secrets of Einstein's Brain" aired on the History Channel on June 4, 2016. [10]

See also

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Hopewell Township, Mercer County, New Jersey Township in New Jersey, United States

Hopewell Township is a township in Mercer County, New Jersey, United States. The township is within the New York metropolitan area as defined by the United States Census Bureau, but directly borders the Philadelphia metropolitan area and is part of the Federal Communications Commission's Philadelphia Designated Market Area. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township's population was 17,304, reflecting an increase of 1,199 (+7.4%) from the 16,105 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 4,515 (+39.0%) from the 11,590 counted in the 1990 Census.

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Thomas Harvey may refer to:

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References

  1. Driving Mr. Albert: A Trip Across America with Einstein's Brain, Dial Press, 2001
  2. Andrews, Lori B.; Nelkin, Dorothy (2001). Body bazaar: the market for human tissue in the biotechnology age. Crown Publishers. p. 9. ISBN   978-0-609-60540-0.
  3. Sperlin, Daniel (2008). Posthumous interests: legal and ethical perspectives. Cambridge University Press. p. 144. ISBN   978-0-521-87784-8., Chapter 4, p. 144
  4. Staff. "Doctor Kept Genius's Brain in a Jar 43 Years", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette , April 17, 2005. Accessed December 3, 2012. "He's 93, living in a small New Jersey town called Titusville."
  5. "Relics: Einstein's Brain (1994)". 2006-08-03. Retrieved 2010-06-16.
  6. Diamond MC, Scheibel AB, Murphy GM Jr, Harvey T,"On the Brain of a Scientist: Albert Einstein","Experimental Neurology 1985;198-204", Retrieved February 18, 2017
  7. The Long, Strange Journey of Einstein's Brain. NPR.com
  8. Falk, Dean, Frederick E. Lepore, and Adrianne Noe (2012), "The cerebral cortex of Albert Einstein: a description and preliminary analysis of unpublished photographs", Brain ; 135: 11.
  9. Balter, Michael, "Rare photos show that Einstein's brain has unusual features", The Washington Post , Tuesday, 27 November 2012; E6.
  10. "I Have Einstein's Brain, Unidentified Flying Nazis, Killer Thoughts". Dark Matters: Twisted But True. September 7, 2011. Science Channel.

Further reading