No wonder Einstein was a genius


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What does it take to be called a genius? Is it your IQ? Is it your life accomplishments? Or is it when your brain's composition is not one of an everyday human being?  This was the case for well-known genius, Albert Einstein.

http://img.timeinc.net/time/magazine/archive/covers/1999/360_einsteincover991231.jpg

http://img.timeinc.net/time/magazine/archive/covers/1999/360_einsteincover991231.jpg

While reading The Washington Post science, my home-town newspaper, I stumbled upon an article in the science discussing the differences between Albert Einstein's brain and that of a "non-genius" human. Einstein's name is one that we have heard since grade school science; a man whose discoveries will forever affect mankind. But I never guessed before reading this article that Einstein's brain was actually biologically different. I just assumed he began to become educated from a very young age, allowing him to develop faster than a normal person.

It seems that intelligence has been highly debated upon in the science community. The question remains: Is intelligence genetic? The answer to that is: in part. In all the years we have all gone to school, whether it be 3rd grade or sophomore year in college, we have all observed at some point or another which kids in a class are smart, and which are not as smart. I am not saying this is always true. Obviously, in big schools like Penn State, we have classes with hundreds of students sometimes, which does not allow for this kind of observation. But in high school for example, there were always those kids who tried to work with the super smart kids in the class because they knew that they would get a grade. Or when you watched and took note who handed their homework in always on time; who got the best test grades; and who raised their hand a lot with good answers. People just kind of assumed those were the "smart" kids. Then the "not-so-intelligent" kids were those who were the opposite.  This nature that we are raised in is what determines our futures; our society lets our "intelligence" determine us. It is a domino effect. The kids with the best grades and highest SAT scores go to the best schools. This often holds a high factor in determining the degree one receives, later determining a career.

Intelligence is in part due to nurture because you learn what you give yourself the time and/or interest to learn. It is your choice whether to want to excel by learning. You can do the minimum, or you can exceed that and make yourself a rising genius. It is possible to increase your intelligence at any point in life, but it is whether you give yourself the time to do so. Einstein used that time wisely, but he was also born with an advantaged brain, which is the nature aspect of how Einstein's intelligence was greater.

Don't we all wish we were born with genes inclined to having a greater intelligence? With the scientific advances of being able to genetically "create" your baby, you can now make your child the next Albert Einstein!

An international team of researchers at Union College did a study examining genes using genetic and intelligence testing. According to Science Daily, "In nearly every case, the researchers found that intelligence could not be linked to the specific genes that were tested." The result was that researchers only found one gene- very little evidence- that connects intelligence to genetics. However, as someone once said, "Lack of evidence does not equal lack of existence."  According to the scientists, it is a possibility that this just means the intelligence genes are much harder to detect.

http://symonsez.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/als-brain.gif?w=426

http://symonsez.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/als-brain.gif?w=426

However, for Albert Einstein, there is scientific proof currently that proves Einstein's brain was mechanized differently. He is often regarded as the father of physics, perhaps most notorious for his discovery of the mass-energy equivalence formula E = mc2 (the 2 is supposed to be squared). He agreed that after he died, scientists could preserve his brain to study it. According to The Washington Post, a pathologist named Thomas Harvey did just this when he sliced Einstein's brain into 240 blocks and later into 2,000 thinner slices.  

The specimens were given to chosen scientists and discovered, however few of them published any observations on them. Unfortunately, many of these specimens have got lost in time. How could they lose Einstein's brain?! But still, the scientists that did publish work published good quality work. The most easily-noted difference about Einstein's brain is that it had different convulsions and folds than that of a normal person.

It was also found that some parts of Einstein's brain had a larger mass of neurons and a higher than usual ratio of glia (cells that help neurons transmit nerve impulses) to neurons. Another study published by anthropologist Dean Falk of Florida State University concluded that his Einstein's parietal lobes had very unusual patterns on it. Parietal lobes are concerned with correlation of sensory theory's and reception, which probably relates to why he was so good at physics.

14 photographs were used to make observations on Einstein's brain. Another team of scientists compared his brain with 85 other people, and found that Einstein's brain was special in that its folds in the gray matter were noticeably different, according to NBC News. It was also discovered that his frontal lobes, used for planning and abstract thinking, were also different.  The theory that the bigger your brain is, the smarter you are is not true then because it also says that Einstein's brain was still only average size.  Scientists were able to correlate why it was that Einstein was so brilliant in some subjects, according to how those parts of his brain looked.

http://www.cerebromente.org.br/n11/mente/eisntein/brain3.gif

http://www.cerebromente.org.br/n11/mente/eisntein/brain3.gif

However; Sandra Witelson of the Michael G. De Groot School of Medicine at McMasters University who also studied Einstein's brain had a completely different observation. She stated that Einstein had an extra fold in his parietal lobe. This is different than the fold being shaped differently. Having an extra fold is like having brain and a piece of another one!  She claims this could have happened while he was in the womb or it could be genetic. This is an interesting thought.

If intelligence were not partially due to nurture, it could be argued that the SAT should be abolished. This would mean that the SAT is unfair because some people are genetically smarter than others. I sure would have loved to sleep in all those Sunday mornings instead of going to 3-hour long SAT preparation classes.  Unfortunately, this was not the case!

Do you guys think that your personal intelligence is due mostly to nature or nurture? Why? Do you think you could become a genius if you put your all into it, or do you blame nature for blocking your ability?


2 Comments

I found an article comparing the intelligences of identical twins vs fraternal twins. The identical twins shared more similar brain structure than the fraternal twins and both sets of twins were nurtured in the same environment to take away that single third variable. The identical twins scored higher on the intelligence tests given to them, which proved their genetics gave them a head up on the competition. But, the article closes with the statement... "It's the kind of intelligence you need to do well in school. Not what you need to do well in life." We measure intelligence based on IQ tests and cognitive abilities, but is this really the intelligence that makes us successful in life? There's also practical intelligence and creative intelligence which get overlooked when talking about how smart we are. Einstein was capable of proposing theories such as the quantum theory of light, but he never created beautiful art like Vincent van Gogh. So who's to say Einstein was more intelligent than Van Gogh?

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn1520-iq-is-inherited-suggests-twin-study.html

There are those people who work extremely hard and but are not able to grasp concepts as easily as others. One of my best friends, Josh, was one of these people. Throughout high school, he was an extremely hard worker. He studied constantly. He would meet with his professors after school for extra help and get outside tutoring. However he was unable to reach the goals he wanted. His parents thought it was the environment, so he changed schools. Unfortunately the same issues arose. However, Taylor made a good point regarding the different types of intelligence. Josh was an extraordinary drummer. He could read and hear better than many of the musicians that I know. Being a vocal musician, rhythm is extremely important, and Josh was always my go-to guy. He is extremely musically inclined. So this raises my question, is intelligence only one dimensional? Are there different types of intellect? Does not performing well in school indicate one's level of intelligence?

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