Re: Famous people and their brain

The Baileys (
Sat, 28 Nov 1998 19:12:18 -0500

John Clark wrote:

>Sometimes for various reasons the weight of the brain of famous people
>was measured immediately after their death and recorded. The brain of
>the average adult male weighs 3 LB 2.2 oz. Einstein's brain was about
>average size, the same was true of Gauss, one of the two or three
>greatest mathematicians who ever lived. Ironically the brain of Franz
>Gall (1828) the founder of phrenology which maintained that you could
>tell everything about a person by the size and shape of their head
>turned out to have a small brain, only 2 LB 10.3 oz.

My guess is that intelligence quotients are tied more closely to the density and number of connections within the brain instead of sheer brain mass. Whale brains are considerably heavier than human brains but the number of neurons in a whale brain is sigificantly less than that of a human's. I have not been able to identify any scanning technology that allows a determination of connection density, or even neuronal density except posthumously.

Here's some more estimates to throw into the "how smart was that person?" raffle:

The source of these estimates is Catherine Cox's 1926 book _The Early Mental Traits of Three Hundred Geniuses_. As cited in SciAm's Intelligence folio.

Sir Francis Galton        200
Goethe                        185
Voltaire                        170
Tennyson                     155
Wordsworth                  150
Byron                           150
Copernicus                   105

Doug Bailey