Phineas Gage

1823 - 1860

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Phineas P. Gage (1823–1860) was an American railroad construction foreman remembered for his improbable[B1]: 19  survival of an accident in which a large iron rod was driven completely through his head, destroying much of his brain's left frontal lobe, and for that injury's reported effects on his personality and behavior over the remaining 12 years of his life‍—‌effects sufficiently profound that friends saw him (for a time at least) as "no longer Gage". Long known as the "American Crowbar Case"‍—‌once termed "the case which more than all others is cal­cu­lated to excite our wonder, impair the value of prognosis, and even to subvert our phys­i­o­log­i­cal doctrines" ‍—‌Phineas Gage influenced 19th-century discussion about the mind and brain, par­tic­u­larly debate on cerebral local­i­za­tion,​​[M]: ch7-9 [B] and was perhaps the first case to suggest the brain's role in deter­min­ing per­son­al­ity, and that damage to specific parts of the brain might induce specific mental changes. Gage is a fixture in the curricula of neurology, psychology, and neuroscience,​​[M7]: 149  one of "the great medical curiosities of all time"[M8] and "a living part of the medical folklore" [R]: 637  frequently mentioned in books and scientific papers;[M]: ch14  he even has a minor place in popular culture. Read more on Wikipedia

Since 2007, the English Wikipedia page of Phineas Gage has received more than 7,329,640 page views. His biography is available in 39 different languages on Wikipedia (up from 38 in 2019). Phineas Gage is the 4th most popular celebrity, the 138th most popular biography from United States (down from 124th in 2019) and the 3rd most popular American Celebrity.

Phineas Gage is most famous for being the first person to have a metal rod go through his brain. This accident happened when he was working as a railroad construction supervisor. The rod went through his left cheek and exited through the top of his head.

Memorability Metrics

  • 7.3M

    Page Views (PV)

  • 73.96

    Historical Popularity Index (HPI)

  • 39

    Languages Editions (L)

  • 13.48

    Effective Languages (L*)

  • 1.71

    Coefficient of Variation (CV)


Among celebrities, Phineas Gage ranks 4 out of 265Before him are Wallis Simpson, Ötzi, and Caitlyn Jenner. After him are Lina Medina, Jeanne Calment, Kaspar Hauser, Robert Wadlow, Millvina Dean, Geli Raubal, Simonetta Vespucci, and Anna Nicole Smith.

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Among people born in 1823, Phineas Gage ranks 2Before him is Abdulmejid I. After him are Max Müller, Alfred Russel Wallace, Gyula Andrássy, Ernest Renan, Sándor Petőfi, Leopold Kronecker, Édouard Lalo, Alexandre Cabanel, Jean-Henri Fabre, and Li Hongzhang. Among people deceased in 1860, Phineas Gage ranks 2Before him is Arthur Schopenhauer. After him are Désirée Clary, Jérôme Bonaparte, Alexandra Feodorovna, Miloš Obrenović, Charles Goodyear, János Bolyai, Stéphanie de Beauharnais, Julia Pastrana, Princess Juliane of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, and Danilo I, Prince of Montenegro.

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In United States

Among people born in United States, Phineas Gage ranks 138 out of 20,380Before him are Patti Smith (1946), Will Smith (1968), Rosa Parks (1913), William James (1842), Bobby Fischer (1943), and Edwin Hubble (1889). After him are Charles Bronson (1921), Tom Hanks (1956), Brad Pitt (1963), Kirk Douglas (1916), Alan Alda (1936), and Henry Fonda (1905).

Among CELEBRITIES In United States

Among celebrities born in United States, Phineas Gage ranks 3Before him are Wallis Simpson (1896), and Caitlyn Jenner (1949). After him are Robert Wadlow (1918), Anna Nicole Smith (1967), Jon Brower Minnoch (1941), Buffalo Bill (1846), Monica Lewinsky (1973), Black Dahlia (1924), Kim Kardashian (1980), Myrtle Corbin (1868), and Margaret Brown (1867).