I just ran across this old article from NPR News covering a harrowing tale of treachery, thievery, and brain-researchery: the quest to study Einstein's brain after he passed away in Princeton, NJ.
I don't want to ruin the story, but apparently one Thomas Harvey, the man who surgically removed Einstein's skull posthumously, decided that he'd like to do a bit more with the genius' brain than donate it to a gravesite somewhere - he made off with it!
Harvey insisted that such a brain needed to be studied and examined using the most cutting-edge scientific techniques and minds. In order to ensure this, he made his way across the country, secretly concealing the great thinker's brain, and sending bits and pieces to researchers who caught wind of his efforts.
Ultimately, they weren't able to say exactly why Einstein was able to do such remarkable things with his brain, but it did give us an important insight into the role of Glia, a second type of cell found in the human brain (as opposed to neurons).
Anyways, you can read the rest. It's a really interesting story...you never know what us scientists will do in the name of research and enlightenment!
via NPR News