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.
There have been plenty of TV documentaries about Albert Einstein, but almost none of them begin with a political assassination and a sex scene. “Genius” does.
The 10-part docudrama series, premiering April 25 on the National Geographic Channel, goes where few accounts of the physicist’s life have gone before.
Executive producer Ron Howard told The Associated Press that the series’ eyebrow-raising first scenes “fulfilled the desire to announce to audiences right away that we weren’t approaching it in an entirely straightforward, traditional and academic way.”
“We were looking for the drama in the story and willing to deal with Einstein, warts and all,” Howard said.