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A rare anatomical variation newly identifies the brains of C.F. Gauss and C.H. Fuchs in a collection at the University of Göttingen

Renate Schweizer, Axel Wittmann, Jens Frahm
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awt296 e269 First published online: 26 October 2013

Sir, Recently, Falk et al. (2013) analysed original photographs of the brain of Albert Einstein in an article published in Brain. The authors state that ‘… we also hope that our identifications will be useful for workers interested in comparing Einstein’s brain with preserved brains from other gifted individuals, such as the German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777–1855) …’. Since 1855 the brain of Carl Friedrich Gauss has been kept as part of a small collection of preserved (elite) brains at the University of Göttingen, currently (since 1995) in the Institute of Ethics and History of Medicine. Shortly after Gauss’s death in 1855, his brain was dissected—with authorization and under the restriction to be only used for scientific studies—by a group of experts led by Rudolf Wagner, a friend of Gauss and physiologist at the University of Göttingen. Wagner published two scientific studies, in which he described a variety of brains using different metrics, such as total brain weight or volume (Wagner, 1860, 1862). In the 1860 work he specifically focused on the convolutions of the cortex of ‘intelligent men’ considering this a novel and promising approach to …