Recently we checked out a number of books and documentaries about various Einstein’s discoveries so I think it’s only appropriate to take a closer look at this fun documentary called “Einstein’s Big Idea”. Like many documentaries by the NOVA team this one tries to dramatize Einstein’s journey to one of the greatest discoveries in physics. And to be honest, I think it works as long as you don’t take too seriously.
With impressive period recreations, NOVA dramatizes how an obscure young patent clerk, Albert Einstein, came up with his shattering 1905 discovery that the realms of matter and energy are inescapably linked by perhaps the most famous equation in science. But it’s not only that, it’s actually an accurate biographical movie, which depicts not only Einstein’s life right from the start, but also colleagues and closest people.
However, in order to appreciate the discovery to its fullest, the NOVA team firstly introduces other famous scientists some of who inspired Einstein and others who were influenced by the great physicist himself. The documentary takes the viewers on a journey to different time periods to take a look at the life of famous scientists including Michael Faraday, the penniless blacksmith’s son who fought the ridicule of the scientific establishment; Antoine Lavoisier, the cool-headed experimenter who fell victim to the guillotine; and Lise Meitner, the physicist who weathered Nazi persecution and personal betrayal on her path to discovering the splitting of the atom.
The strong side of the documentary are the great recreations of the corresponding time periods and the fun factor. However, as I said before, I recommend it mostly for those who are looking for something simple, fun and relaxing. And if you’re looking for a full biography of Einstein or something more scientific check out these links: Einstein: The Life of a Genius and General Relativity and Cosmology.