Henry Gustav Molaison is one of the most famous patients in the annals of brain research. In 1953, an experimental surgery meant to relieve his severe epilepsy rendered him frozen in time: He could remember events and facts he knew before the surgery, but could retain virtually nothing after. For decades, Molaison (who’s known as H.M. in psychology textbooks and scores of research papers) cooperated with researchers interested in what his strange memory deficit could teach them about how the brain creates a record of faces, facts, and life experiences.
When Molaison died in 2008, his brain was painstakingly preserved. Now it’s available online for scientists (or others who request permission) to explore, right down to the level of its cellular architecture.