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Posts Tagged ‘Johannes Kepler

Inside knowledge…

Original x-rays of Einstein’s brain will go under the gavel on December 3 at Julien’s Auctions in Hollywood (along with other such memorabilia as the first guitar used on stage by Jimi Hendrix and the Michael Jackson “Bad” costume made for and worn by the chimp Bubbles).

Taken by an old friend when the Father of Modern Physics was 66, the x-rays may illustrate the root of the genius’ genius; as the BBC explains:

Scientists at McMaster University, Ontario, Canada compared the shape and size Einstein’s brain with those of 35 men and 56 women with average intelligence.

They think their findings may well explain his genius for mathematical and spatial thinking.

In general, Einstein’s brain was the same as all the others except in one particular area – the region responsible for mathematical thought and the ability to think in terms of space and movement.

Uniquely, Einstein’s brain also lacked a groove that normally runs through part of this area. The researchers suggest that its absence may have allowed the neurons to communicate much more easily.

“This unusual brain anatomy may explain why Einstein thought the way he did,” said Professor Sandra Witelson, who led the research published in the Lancet.

“Einstein’s own description of his scientific thinking was that words did not seem to play a role. Instead he saw more or less clear images of a visual kind,” she said.

The x-rays are expected to fetch $1-2,000.

(TotH to Cakehead Loves Evil)

As we muse that the juxtaposition of items in the auction is… well, relatively odd, we might cast our eyes to the heavens in honor of Johannes Kepler, the mathematician, astronomer, and astrologer (the distinctions among those fields being pretty vague in Kepler’s time); he died on this date in 1630.

Kepler’s “laws of planetary motion”– most famously, that the planets move in elliptical orbits around the Sun– were the foundation on which Isaac Newton (one of the few humans arguably smarter than Einstein) built his theory of universal gravitation.

Kepler

 

The Annals of Enthusiasm, Volume 1000cc…

A hospital technician by day, on his own time Francois Knorreck is a mad motorcyclist, with numerous notches on his fan belt (e.g., first to cross the Loire on an amphibious motorbike of his own adaptation).

His most recent project is the Snaefell (named for an Icelandic volcano). “After 10,000 hours of hard work, more than 10 years from time to time in the garage, and about 15000 Euros spent, the Snaefell was ready to ride!”

And what a ride:

See more here.

As we reconsider our Vespas, we might spare a memorial thought for Tycho Brahe, the Danish nobleman, astrologer, alchemist, and greatest-ever naked-eye astronomical observer.  Brahe, who died on this date in 1601, made the observations from which his assistant, Johannes Kepler, derived his Laws of Planetary Motion.

Tycho Brahe

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Written by LW

October 24, 2009 at 12:01 am

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