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Einstein's Big Idea (2005)

E=mc² (original title)
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 ... See full summary »


Gary Johnstone


David Bodanis (book), Gary Johnstone


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Andrew Callaway Andrew Callaway ... Maupertuis
Andy Crabbe Andy Crabbe ... Habicht
Daniel D'Alessandro Daniel D'Alessandro ... Algarotti
Brendan Fleming Brendan Fleming ... Hermann Einstein
Gregory Fox-Murphy Gregory Fox-Murphy ... Brande
Ty Glaser ... Marie Anne Lavoisier
Philip Herbert Philip Herbert ... Count de Amerval
Chris Jenkinson Chris Jenkinson ... Dr. Haller
Wolf Kahler ... Horlein
George Layton George Layton ... Emilie's Father
Anton Lesser ... Voltaire
Alex Macqueen ... Chater (as Alex MacQueen)
Aidan McArdle ... Einstein
Richard Mulholland Richard Mulholland ... Emilie's Tutor
Stephen Noonan Stephen Noonan ... Marat


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) See more »

Also Known As:

Einstein's Big Idea See more »

Filming Locations:

England, UK See more »

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Features Nova: E=mc²: Einstein's Big Idea (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

From Ben Franklin to the Manhattan Project
7 October 2008 | by CihanVercanSee all my reviews

E=mc² is a scientific documentary about the understanding of energy of objects, and the history of this purview among its experts. This documentary is best for personal view, since there is no personification in its stories told. It could be a good choice for movie makers of sci-fi seeking for inspiration.

After Benjamin Franklin's discovery of static electricity, the whole European science communities has begun working on the equations of force and mechanics. The plot grounds on Einstein's understanding of universe and how he differs from any scientist in the world. His courage of discovering the unknown and analyzing the inconceivable unites the Energy and the Mass, that no one could ever think of it. Einstein inspires from Michael Faraday, the founder of Electromagnetism and from James Clark Maxwell, the founder of the Celeritas(the speed of the light).

The plot makes the huge mistake with not mentioning Thomas Edison for the development of the storage of the electricity and the static light. However on the book the writer David Bodanis talks about Voltaire and Edison upon the same issue. Again without mentioning the Einstein's development of Quantum Mechanics, the plot takes us to the invention of Nuclear Fission by unlocking the Uranium atom, and thus to the Manhattan Project and the World War-II.

I found the storyline in such a mess, while trying to reveal Einstein's way of inspiration. It denies itself for the reason on the Light's traveling motion in space that is the square of its speed developed in numbers by a French academic 50 years before Einstein's developing the idea of taking the square measurement of light in order to find its motion in space. How could you develop a scientific thesis if its already accepted as a law 50 years before your thesis? As I know, no one else has ever thought of the light using it in a mathematical equation before Einstein. Anyway omitting this fallacy, I was fond of the explanation that the energy of an object can be described by its mass. It's said that the energy of an object equals to its mass multiplied by the square of the speed of the light. Because the rest is a mess, this documentary could have been a short film, if there would have been adequate personification of the characters introduced. Even though, it sure still is worth watching; and can fill out your expectations.

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