Among human history's select handful of world-changingly brilliant people, perhaps no one in modern times is more synonymous with genius than Albert Einstein. He shattered and then remade our understanding of time itself. He explained gravity and how it impacted celestial objects and the things that orbit them. And he articulated the frightening symbiosis between matter and energy when he put to paper the most famous equation in history: E=MC2. His iconic popular image -- the out-of-control hair and the playful tongue sticking out -- is cemented in the public consciousness. We say things like "Sure, so-and-so may be smart, but he's no Einstein" because no other comparison would make such immediate sense to anyone who heard it. Einstein and intelligence are used interchangeably.
But how smart, really, was he? Did he ever take an IQ test? Was there something structurally different about Einstein's brain than the rest of ours? Was it physically bigger? Or did he somehow just use more of the same cranial real estate than anyone else? Why did his brain produce works of genius? Such questions have intrigued people for many years, so much so that after his death, pieces of Einstein's brain were sliced away like cantaloupe and parceled out across the globe to scientists searching for clues to his brilliance. They were willing to risk sacrilege (Einstein was cremated, and it's not entirely clear anyone had permission to preserve, much less dissect, his brain) to find out why the most famous physicist of all time was able to see so many things that others could not.
Let's take a closer look now at Albert Einstein's brain -- literally and figuratively.