Einstein’s love life vs. his love of physics

'Genius' TV show
Albert Einstein and his wife, Mileva Maric (played by Johnny Flynn and Samantha Colley) look over a scientific paper in “Genius,” a TV series on the National Geographic Channel. (NGC via YouTube)

National Geographic Channel’s “Genius” TV series on Albert Einstein spends almost as much time on the famous physicist’s love life as it does on his theory of relativity – and his most recent biographer, Walter Isaacson, says that’s just as it should be.

“In my biography, I begin and end by saying there’s a ‘unified field theory’ that connects Einstein’s personality with his physics, and the genius of the TV series ‘Genius’ is that it shows this,” said Isaacson, who has written biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Steve Jobs as well as “Einstein: His Life and Universe.”

Isaacson said the series’ fourth episode, airing tonight, illustrates that point. It focuses on Einstein’s “miracle year” of 1905, when he laid out not just one but four groundbreaking scientific papers, including the theory of special relativity.

But it also dwells on Einstein’s tempestuous relationship with his first wife, Serbian-born physicist Mileva Maric, who helped him with his math.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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