Einstein and Opie: Opus 2

So my previous blog on this topic involved my binge watching the first 8 episodes of last season’s National Geographic program “Genius,” which focused on the life of Albert Einstein.

While the first 8 episodes were a sometimes joyful romp through fields of scientific theory with the young Einstein, punctuated by doleful drama about his first marriage, the last three episodes deal with the political fallout of what it meant to be Albert Einstein, the world’s most famous scientific thinker.

It starts with a testy interview for Einstein and his second wife, Elsie (who is also somehow both his first and second cousin), with a government agent given a charge by J. Edgar Hoover to deny Einstein entry into the United States.

After a P.R. campaign in American papers to let Einstein immigrate due to the increasing danger for Jews in Hitler’s Germany, he makes it to a post at Princeton only to watch his greatest thought turned into the atomic bomb against his pacifist belief system.

To his great consternation, he makes the cover of “Time” as the harbinger of the Atomic Age.

He also turns down prestigious offers to lecture in favor of speaking to a black university physics class, and he uses his fame to be a voice for peace and understanding between nations rather than a nuclear arms race.

Yet as invested in humanity and its fate as Einstein is, he still struggles to make connections with his own adult children, although he develops a delightful late in life relationship with a little girl named Alice who offers him cookies in exchange for helping her with her math homework.

And he dies before being able to prove the concept of unified field theory, which attempted to unify his general theory of relativity with the science of electromagnetism, his brain preserved in a jar for future study.

In a bit of research, I learned that a portion of Einstein’s brain was found to be abnormally large as compared to other brains, perhaps the reason for his genius and unique vision of our universe.

Though Einstein never proved what is sometimes called “The Theory of Everything,” this biographical look at the scientists’s life is a universally satisfying look at the greatness – and flaws – of pure genius.

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