Order In the Plex Now

About Steven

A true story. It was 1978, and I was working for a regional magazine called New Jersey Monthly. It was located in Princeton. My editor told me to go find Einstein’s brain. It seems that he had read the Ronald Clark biography of Einstein and got to the part (towards the end, of course) where it says Einstein’s body was cremated, except for the brain which was kept for scientific study. Einstein had died in 1955–twenty two years before–and no one had heard squat about it since. My editor had tried to check up on it, even contacting the Einstein estate, but hadn’t been able to find out anything about it. So he told me do it.

In short, I did. To make a longish story short (the story was published in the August 1978 edition of the magazine), I came to the conclusion that the brain, in sectioned form, was still in the possession of the pathologist who removed it from the Einstein head, Dr. Thomas Harvey. I tracked him down in Wichita, Kansas. At first he didn’t want to tell me anything, but after a while he finally admitted that he had the brain. After a longer while, he sheepishly told me it was IN THE VERY OFFICE WE WERE SITTING IN. He walked to a box labeled “Costa Cider” and pulled out two big Mason jars. In those were the remains of the brain that changed the world.

Forgive me, but it was almost a religious experience.

After the article came out, the media went a little bonkers. They camped out on poor Dr. Harvey’s lawn, and made life unpleasant for him. I did radio interviews for two solid days. Johnny Carson made a joke about it. My friends told me it would be the high point in my career. (Were they right? You decide.)

Oh, and Dr. Harvey told me that so far he had found nothing to indicate the physical nature of this particular brain was anything special. But some scientists in California heard about the brain from my story and eventually did some work which showed some anomalies. Anyway, the big excitement for me was seeing those little brain-pieces, each the size of a Goldenberg’s peanut chew, bobbing up and down in solution. This changed everything.