Brain Power and Einstein’s Brain

Brain Power and Einstein’s Brain

One of the challenging questions we face is why some people seem to be smarter than others. We may think that intelligent people have brain power because their brains are somehow different from the rest of us. Most people would probably say that Einstein was more intelligent than they are, and perhaps because his brain was different from theirs.

When Einstein died in 1955, the pathologist who conducted the autopsy removed his brain. The University of Pennsylvania dissected Einstein’s brain and made slides and sections available to scientists so they could look for the secret to Einstein’s brain power. They found nothing in those studies showing anything unique about Einstein’s brain.

The whole question of intelligence is very complicated because there are different kinds of intelligence. Some people have musical intelligence, some can create poetry and literature, others use mathematics creatively, and still others can handle mechanical processes. My son Timothy was labeled “retarded” because a Stanford-Binet intelligence test showed his I.Q. was under 50. When he was given the Wechsler-Bellevue test, his I.Q. was measured to be 120, which is considered normal intelligence. That test is based on literary intelligence, while the Binet test measured mechanical association intelligence.

In teaching physics for 41 years, I had students who did poorly in English class but did marvelous work in my class. When I started teaching, people believed that physics was for boys because girls could not do physics. I battled the guidance department and even some parents as I encouraged girls to take physics, and some of them did very well. In my son’s case, my wife read to him constantly before he could walk or talk, and his love of books and literature continued throughout his life. My daughter excelled in science and became a science teacher, but she grew up under my influence and encouragement.

The point here is that intelligence is not a matter of brain power. Barring brain damage, we all have equal intelligence. The difference is shaped by how we are raised, what happens in our lives, who we are exposed to, and what we learn from those around us. God created all of us with the ability to think, understand, reason, and respond to Him. We may do it in different ways, and we can overcome our limitations, but God tells us that we are responsible for what we do with what we have. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12) is within reach of all of us.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Reference: Parade Magazine for July 10, 2022, page 10.