I am not a great fan of the documentary series on History Channel, but the one I have seen today was really much above the average. It focused on Albert Einstein, maybe the greatest scientific mind that ever lived, and on the crucial years between the writing of his basic works describing the theory of relativity and nature of light in 1905, until the experimental proof that confirmed the theory of generalized relativity and the nature of gravity in 1922 followed by the receiving of the Nobel prize (but not for the theory of gravity but rather for the description of photons and structure of light.
These were years in which Einstein turned upside down all the science in place for more than two centuries based on the classical physics founded by Newton. These were years where the whole world turned upside down, empires in place in Europe for many years tumbled down under revolutions and new orders emerged predicting peace and welfare but bringing the seeds of more and atrocious human suffering. In the middle of all these storms Einstein succeeded to not only to create some of the most magnificent pieces of work that human mind ever conceived, but also kept a straight moral position, opposing war and nationalist fantasies.
The documentary at History Channel was smartly made. It brought on screen a battery of biographers, scientists and historians (Walter Isaacson, his most famous biographer among them) who talked about Einstein and his times, and succeeded to link their commentaries into a logical thread that built a story line that fascinated and kept me watching like at the best thriller dramas. All was explained clearly - the historic background, the biographic details, the science and the family life (yes, Einstein was no saint or family values model) and the reconstitution of the experiments that eventually proved his theories looked like a good and real Indiana Jones film. The 'Einstein' documentary set for me a model of what biography movies should look like.
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