Albert Einstein dies

On 17 April 1955, Albert Einstein experienced internal bleeding caused by the rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm, which had previously been reinforced surgically by Dr. Rudolph Nissen in 1948.

He took the draft of a speech he was preparing for a television appearance commemorating the State of Israel’s seventh anniversary with him to the hospital, but he did not live long enough to complete it. Einstein refused surgery, saying: "I want to go when I want. It is tasteless to prolong life artificially. I have done my share, it is time to go. I will do it elegantly." He died in Princeton Hospital early the next morning at the age of 76, having continued to work until near the end. Einstein’s remains were cremated and his ashes were scattered around the grounds of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey. During the autopsy, the pathologist of Princeton Hospital, Thomas Stoltz Harvey removed Einstein’s brain for preservation, without the permission of his family, in hope that the neuroscience of the future would be able to discover what made Einstein so intelligent.

On April 17, 1955, the great mathematician and physicist Albert Einstein was admitted to Princeton Hospital complaining of chest pains. He died early the next morning (April 18) of a burst aortic aneurysm. He was cremated, and his ashes were scattered in an undisclosed location. Before the cremation, however, his brain was removed by Dr. Thomas Harvey, a pathologist at the hospital who wanted to know what it was that made Einstein a genius. Harvey did not have permission to remove the brain, and when the fact came to light and he refused to return the specimen, he was dismissed from the hospital. For almost three decades, Harvey kept Einstein's brain in his home, constantly on the lookout for researchers willing to study it. Most, however, dismissed the idea that Einstein's brain was physiologically different in any meaningful way. In the early 1980s, however, Harvey was contacted by Marian Diamond, a neuroscientist from UCLA who proposed to count certain cells in the scientist's brain and compare them with normal specimens. Although other scientists questioned the validity of her methods, she found that Einstein did indeed have an unusual neuron-to-glial-cell ratio in one key area of his brain. Finally, in 1997, Harvey embarked on a cross-country road trip to return the brain to Einstein's granddaughter in California. Ironically, she didn't want it and the great scientist's brain was eventually returned to the same pathology lab at Princeton Hospital where it's strange journey had begun more than forty years earlier.

The death of Albert Einstein came on April 18, 1955 in Princeton, New Jersey. After a long illness, he died peacefully in his sleep. The listed cause of death is a ruptured artery in his heart. Upon his request in his will, there was no funeral, no grave, and no marker. His brain was donated to science and his body was cremated and his ashes were spread over a near-by river.

Albert Einstein was born at Ulm, Wuerttemberg, Germany, on March 14, 1879. His boyhood was spent in Munich, where his father, who owned electro-technical works, had settled. The family migrated to Italy in 1894, and Albert was sent to a cantonal school at Aarau in Switzerland. He attended lectures while supporting himself by teaching mathematics and physics at the Polytechnic School at Zurich until 1900. Finally, after a year as tutor at Schaffthausen, he was appointed examiner of patents at the Patent Office at Bern where, having become a Swiss citizen, he remained until 1909.

It was in this period that he obtained his Ph.D. degree at the University of Zurich and published his first papers on physical subjects.

These were so highly esteemed that in 1909 he was appointed Extraordinary Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Zurich. In 1911 he accepted the Chair of Physics at Prague, only to be induced to return to his own Polytechnic School at Zurich as full professor the next year. In 1913 a special position was created for him in Berlin as director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Physical Institute. He was elected a member of the Royal Prussian Academy of Sciences and received a stipend sufficient to enable him to devote all his time to research without any restrictions or routine duties.