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E=mc²: Einstein's Big Idea 

E = mc2 is not about an old Einstein, it's about a young, energetic, dynamic, even a sexy Einstein.





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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Narrator (voice)
Albert Einstein
Mileva Maric
Michael Faraday
Gregory Fox-Murphy ...
Chater (as Alex MacQueen)
Humphry Davy (as Sam West)
Robert Styles ...
Brendan Fleming ...
Hermann Einstein
Michael Sarne ...
Proffesseur Fritz Muhlberg
Marie Anne Lavoisier
Philip Herbert ...
Count de Amerval
Di Trevis ...
Baroness de la Garde
Stephen Noonan ...
James Tovell ...


This docudrama examines the history of scientific discovery that lead up to Albert Einstein's famous equation E=mc2 and its aftermath in the creation of nuclear energy. This includes Faraday's discovery of electromagnetic fields; Antoine Lavoisier's discovery that mass is never lost; and Emilie du Chatelet's demonstration that Newton's calculation of the velocity of a falling object was incorrect. By 1905, the miracle year where the publication Einstein's four physics papers changed over 200 years of scientific fundamentals, all of this came together with his now famous equation. Afterwards, Lise Meisner's work on uranium let to her conclusion that splitting an atom would release large amounts of energy. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

11 October 2005 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Fine dramatic depiction of the discoveries of Einstein and his precursors
8 May 2007 | by See all my reviews

This is a 112-minute NOVA production directed by Gary Johnstone based on the book E=MC2 by David Bodanis. John Lithgow narrates and Aiden McArdle stars as Albert Einstein. It's the kind of documentary that melds interviews with scientists and historians with reconstructions of historical events by actors. "Einstein's Big Idea" is a particularly good example of this genre.

Bodanis realized when he conceived the book that it wasn't enough merely to write about Einstein. It was necessary to bring Einstein's precursors and their ideas and discoveries into the mix. This film does the same and does it well. Recalled is the story of Michael Faraday who discovered electromagnetic induction and that of Antoine Lavoisier who demonstrated the conservation of matter. Worth noting is the influence of women in these stories. Shirley Henderson plays Einstein's first wife and fellow physicist Mileva Maric while Ty Glaser portrays Lavoisier's wife, Marie Anne, who was a fine chemist in her own right. Included is the sad story of Lise Meitner, Austrian born Jewish physicist, who was betrayed by fellow physicist Otto Hahn in Nazi Germany in that he won a Nobel Prize in large part because of work she had done.

What impressed me about this production was the fine acting by especially Shirley Henderson who is an outstanding actress, and Aiden McArdle who looked the spitting image of a young Albert Einstein. Ty Glaser was also very good. Johnstone's direction was first rate. His ability to recreate various time periods in a realistic way should propel him toward a career adapting historical novels to the screen.

The film concentrates on the personalities of the scientists and their struggles and successes. The actual science is secondary. Consequently this is a good film for people, especially young people, interested in science but without yet a lot of scientific training.

(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!)

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