NPR

Why Brain Scientists Are Still Obsessed With The Curious Case Of Phineas Gage

In 1848, a railroad worker survived an accident that drove a 13-pound iron bar through his head. The injury changed his personality, and our understanding of the brain.
Source: The American Phrenological Journal and Repository of Science, Literature and General Intelligence, Volumes 13-14

It took an explosion and 13 pounds of iron to usher in the modern era of neuroscience.

In 1848, a 25-year-old railroad worker named Phineas Gage was blowing up rocks to clear the way for a new rail line in Cavendish, Vt. He would drill a hole, place an explosive charge, then pack in sand using a 13-pound metal bar known as a tamping iron.

But in this instance, the metal bar created a spark that touched off the charge

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