It is 60 years since our most famous scientist’s death, an event now associated with the weird saga of his brain. Here’s how I got involved.
Sixty years ago: Thomas Harvey, Chief Pathologist at the Princeton Hospital tells reporters how he performed the autopsy on Albert Einstein.
In April of 1955, Albert Einstein was 76 years old. Three years earlier, he had turned down an offer to be president of Israel. He was living in Princeton, working at the Institute for Advanced Study, trying to perfect a theory of gravitation. His health was failing; he had been told that he suffered from a heart aneurism. His response: “Let it burst.” On April 13, it looked like it might.
His physician told him he needed surgery, but he refused. On Friday, April 15, he entered Princeton Hospital. His family was called in. Over the weekend it seemed that he was recovering. But in the early hours of Monday, April 18, he had trouble breathing. His nurse reported that he muttered two sentences in German, a language that she did not understand.