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Possessing Genius: The True Account of the Bizarre Odyssey of Einstein's Brain
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Possessing Genius: The True Account of the Bizarre Odyssey of Einstein's Brain

3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  118 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Winner of the Canadian Science Writer's Award

The story begins in April 1955, when Thomas Stolz Harvey, chief pathologist at Princeton Hospital, found himself in charge of dissecting the cadaver of the greatest scientist of his age, perhaps of any age. He seized the opportunity to do something "noble." Using an electric saw, Harvey sliced through the skull and gingerly remo
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Paperback, 400 pages
Published April 7th 2003 by St. Martin's Press (first published 2002)
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Mike Hernandez
Mar 12, 2008 Mike Hernandez rated it really liked it
This is another in the series of weird fascinations I have. The book is about the adventures of Einstein's brain, mostly after his death. The story is well written with what little information seems to be known about both its history, and its whereabouts. At times the book seems frustrating because I expect it to reveal some great finding about the connection between genius and physical brain structure, and in the end it seems that there is none (that we currently know of). I dejectly come to ...more
Katie_marie
The book was well-written and I do not regret the time spent reading it however, the most interesting information from the work was about Einstein himself; not his uncapped brain. The author reveals surprising details about Einstein's personality and life that don't fit the profile of friendly, impish genius. If it is Einstein you are interested in then pick up a biography. However, much of the subject matter is saved by the author's clever usage of language related to brains, research, etc. to ...more
Chris
Aug 28, 2008 Chris rated it liked it
Shelves: science, non-fiction
This is a unique book about what was done with albert einstein's brain after he died. his genius at that time was unparalleled, so his family donated it to science so that it could be studied, and it was left in the possession of a caretaker scientist who was left with the sole responsibility of safeguarding it.
Leo Saumure
Dec 26, 2012 Leo Saumure rated it it was amazing
If you think you know everything about Einstein, just wait until you find out about what happened to his brain after he died... This was an amazing read!
Janis
Sep 03, 2011 Janis rated it liked it
Quite amazing when you think of it!
Todd Stockslager
This feels and reads like a book-length magazine article, and depends too much on interviews with Thomas Harvey, the man who 'possessed genius.' I'm not sure if this reliance on interviews with Harvey is because he is the central character of the story, or because the writer is a journalist writing a book-length magazine article!

Not that its a bad book. The interesting thing is that the world has changed so much in just 50 years that such an event (a solitary, almost secret autopsy of such a mon
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Myna
Jul 25, 2015 Myna rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Myna by: cannot remember
For someone who writes fiction and poetry, this non-fiction book, including a lot of scientific information as well, was the last book I thought I would love. But I couldn't put it down. What a crazy, stranger-than-fiction story, with well-drawn "characters." Abraham is a terrific writer, making even the science exciting. I would highly, highly recommend this book. It's at times funny, wacky even, and highly sympathetic to its main protagonist, the curious man who "possesses genius."
valerie
Nov 15, 2007 valerie rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: physicists
This book is interesting for historical reasons, but really didn't hold my attention for very long. This says a lot since I study neurobiology so anything involving brains is usually pretty cool :) The neuroscience part of the book is completely hollywoodized and Abraham doesn't even explain well what Einstein's contributions to physics were. I wouldn't recommend this book.
Jenn Tat
Apr 10, 2014 Jenn Tat rated it really liked it
The unusual and amusing tale of what happened to Albert Einstein's brain.

Abraham has beautiful science writing and thorough research. The people in the story are fully fleshed out, to the extent that you feel you know them (or someone like them). It was fascinating and bizarre. Fans of Mary Roach will enjoy.
Carlye.peterson
Jan 20, 2008 Carlye.peterson rated it it was amazing
this book is so awesome and weird. it's the story of the journey of einstein's brain around the country and world...some pieces were sent to different scientists for research to figure out why einstein was a genius. this is such an enjoyable book to read!
Lastgirlstanding
Aug 31, 2013 Lastgirlstanding rated it really liked it
An intriguing read about what happened to Einstein's brain after he died. Very interesting. Proof that non-fiction can sometimes be even as bizarre- or even more bizarre- than fiction.
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Carolyn Abraham is an award-winning science writer who spent 14 years as the senior medical reporter for The Globe and Mail, Canada's leading national newspaper. Her features, focusing on the intersection of science and society, have earned more than eight national awards, including four from the Canadian Science Writers Association, and two National Newspaper Awards.

Carolyn Abraham appears often
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