On April 18, 1955, Albert Einstein died at Princeton Hospital of a ruptured aortic aneurysm. Within hours the pathologist on call, Thomas Harvey, acting on his own initiative, removed the famed physicist's brain without the family's permission. He then preserved the organ, counter to Einstein's stated wish to be cremated. Harvey managed to secure a retroactive blessing from Einstein's son Hans Albert, with the stipulation that the brain would be used only for scientific purposes. But Harvey himself lacked the expertise needed to analyze the organ, so he began to seek out specialists to help him. It would take him 30 years to find one. The quest changed the course of Harvey's life and consigned his precious specimen to a fate that is at once strange, sad and fraught with ethical complications.