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Einstein and Eddington (2008)

TV Movie  -   -  Drama | History  -  23 November 2008 (UK)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 3,391 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 1 critic

A look at the evolution of Albert Einstein's theory of relativity, and Einstein's relationship with British scientist Sir Arthur Eddington, the first physicist to understand his ideas.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Richard McCabe ...
Frank Dyson
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William Marston
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Tennis Player 1
Gyuri Sarossy ...
Tennis Player 2
...
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Sir Oliver Lodge
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Jacob Theato ...
Eduard Einstein
Callum Williams ...
Hans Einstein
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...
Lucy Briers ...
Librarian
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Fritz Haber
John Bowe ...
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Storyline

Sir Arthur Eddington is a renowned physicist at Cambridge University and an expert in the measurement of the physical world. He along with all of his colleagues are also avowed Newtonians. Sir Oliver Lodge suggests that he read a new thesis put forward by a German-Swiss scientist named Albert Einstein who is suggesting that Sir Isaac Newton may have got it wrong. The expectation is that Einstein's theories will be disproven but Eddington admits that his General Theory of Relativity has merit. These are turbulent times as England and Germany are at war and Eddington's own loyalty is called into question when, as a Quaker, he refuses to fight. In the end, Eddington develops a series of tests to either prove or disprove Einstein's theories. For his part, Einstein has his own struggles during this period: the breakdown of his marriage, his integration into the university in Berlin and his own strident pacifism that led him to oppose German militarism and the First World War. In the end, ... Written by garykmcd

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Drama | History

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23 November 2008 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Einstein und Eddington  »

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Did You Know?

Goofs

During the partial phase of the eclipse of the Sun, the entire outline of the Moon was visible. This does not happen in reality. See more »

Quotes

[Einstein is trying to work out why Newton's Laws of Motion do not correctly explain the orbit of the planet Mercury]
Max Planck: May I ask you a very serious question? What if God were to say you were mistaken? If he said "Stop. Newton is right"?
Albert Einstein: Then I would thank God for his point of view, and we would agree to differ, and I would be left feeling very sorry for God.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Parkinson: Episode dated 5 May 2007 (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Great actors, great story
11 December 2008 | by (Somerset, England) – See all my reviews

This is a superb drama, combining a well-presented scientific and historical explication of Albert Einstein's theory of relativity alongside a gripping portrait of the moral dilemmas that scientists have to struggle with as they try to reconcile the demands of country and conscience.

The twin leads –British scientist Arthur Eddington (David Tennant) and Einstein (Andy Serkis) – lead very different lives but face not only similar scientific opposition and derision but also similar pressures to back their country's efforts to win the First World War. Tennant shakes off the Dr Who expectations in pointing up the problems of a gay pacifist Quaker who tries to prove the new-fangled theories of 'enemy' scientist Einstein – a theory especially dangerous because it undermines the ordered view of the universe created by English scientist Isaac Newton. Einstein's complicated private life is compounded by his revulsion at fellow scientists' work in developing poison gas. Both Tennant and Serkis get right into the skin of their characters - two brilliant actors on top form.

The drama brings over very effectively the transition from the comfortable life of the scientists in pre-war Cambridge and Switzerland to the tragedies of war. Jim Broadbent as Sir Oliver Lodge and Donald Sumpter as Max Planck lead the scientific establishments in Cambridge and Berlin as they pervert their scientific beliefs to condone mass killing on a scale never before seen. The main female roles have rather less to do, but Rebecca Hall as Eddington's sister, Lucy Cohu as Einstein's abandoned wife and Jodhi May as his mistress all add an extra warmth to the production and help to avoid the danger of focusing only on clever men using symbols and formulae to bemuse their colleagues (and the audience).

The settings – Cambridge, Berlin and West Africa, where Eddington photographed a total eclipse of the sun to prove the Einstein's theory was right – provide a powerful backdrop to the human drama, making it all the more believable. All in all, a very successful and informative BBC and HBO drama that maintains tension and excitement throughout.


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