April 18, 1955 - Death of Albert Einstein

On April 18, 1955, Albert Einstein experienced internal bleeding caused by a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm, which had previously been surgically reinforced by Dr. Rudolph Nissen in 1948.

Einstein refused surgery, saying, "I've done my part, it's time to go and I'll do it gracefully".

He died in Princeton Hospital in the early hours of April 18, 1955 at the age of 76. On the bedside table was the draft of the speech in front of millions of Israelis for the seventh anniversary of Israel's independence that he would never deliver, and that began like this: "Today I speak to you not as an American citizen, nor as a Jew, but as a human".

Einstein did not want to have a glittering funeral, attended by dignitaries from around the world. According to his wish, his body was cremated on the same afternoon, before most of the world knew the news. In the crematorium there were only 12 people, of which his eldest son was. His ashes were scattered in the Delaware River so that the site of his remains would not become an object of morbid veneration. But there was a part of his body that was not burned.

During the autopsy, hospital pathologist Thomas Stoltz Harvey removed Einstein's brain for preservation, without his family's permission, in the hope that future neuroscience would be able to discover what made Einstein so intelligent.

He kept it for several decades until he finally returned it to Princeton Laboratories when he was in his eighties. He thought that Einstein's brain "would reveal to him the secrets of his genius and that he would thus become famous".

Until now, the only mildly interesting scientific fact obtained from the study of the brain is that a part of it (the part that, among other things, is related to mathematical ability) was larger than the same part in other brains.

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