‘Einstein’s personality, for no clear reason, triggers outbursts of a kind of mass hysteria,’ wrote a puzzled German consul to his superiors in Berlin during Einstein’s visit to America in 1930. Wherever Einstein appeared, the consul observed ruefully, he attracted huge audiences who were not just enthusiastic but positively worshipful. Overwrought admirers crowded round him, wanting to kiss his hand, touch his clothes, or just gaze into his eyes.The hysteria continued after his death, his relics preserved and treasured as if he were a medieval saint. His eyes, for example, are kept in a safe-deposit box in New Jersey. His brain was chopped into pieces and preserved in two biscuit jars by Thomas Harvey, the pathologist at the hospital in which he died, who every now and again would hand pieces of it over to other people to inspect, analyse or simply reverence.