Saturday, December 24, 2011

Other half of Babbage's brain found!

Charles Babbage & half his brain
If you follow this blog you'll know that earlier in the year I visited the London Science Museum to see the replica of Charles Babbage's Difference Engine No.2. It was fascinating, but I was surprised to see that they had half of Babbage's brain pickled in a jar on display. Why I wondered did they half half of his brain? It didn't seem to serve any educational purpose. Also, where was the other half? This continued to occasionally trouble me. The mystery has been solved thanks to Wikipedia; the other half is preserved at the Hunterian Museum in the Royal College of Surgeons in London. I don't know if it's on display there (perhaps somebody can tell us). I haven't visited the Hunterian Museum, but I did visit the Surgeons' Hall Museum in Edinburgh in August, which was fascinating. A little macabre and ghoulish but very interesting.