The new Nat Geo series ‘Genius’ premiered last week. The 10-part series—based on the Walter Isaacson biography “Einstein: His Life and Universe”—examines the life of Albert Einstein and illustrates the man behind the iconic myths.
The series focuses on the formative years of Einstein’s life, and the events that shaped him—both as a man and as a physicist. Geoffrey Rush plays the role of Albert Einstein, and the series is produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer.
One of the things that I find most compelling about the story is the way that it pulls back the curtain on the icon to reveal the man. For someone famous, like Einstein, it’s easy to sort of boil his entire existence down to the few pivotal contributions he made to science and ignore the person behind those contributions as well as the sweat and tears that went into them. The more time that passes after the death of someone famous, the more likely it is that all we really remember is a marginally fictionalized hero-version of the reality.
I spoke with Dr. Clifford Johnson—a professor of physics at the University of Southern California and a science advisor for the show—about ‘Genius’. Dr. Johnson has reviewed the scripts for all of the episodes, and told me confidently that it is an excellent series that he expects the audience will enjoy. He acknowledged that it’s possible there will be changes between the scripts he read and what actually ends up on screen, but—barring a major rewrite of an episode—he assures me we are in for a treat.
One thing that Dr. Johnson stressed is that Genius illustrates the amount of hard work and tedious effort that goes into being a “genius”. There is no denying that Albert Einstein played a crucial role in our understanding of physics and science, but Dr. Johnson pointed out that there are two contributing factors to consider.
First, is the idea expressed in the Isaac Newton quote, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Einstein made some crucial discoveries, but we have to remember that part of the reason that he was able to develop and prove his theories is the foundation of science and scientific discovery that preceded him.
You can read the full story on Forbes: Nat Geo Creates A Template For Sharing Just How Much Effort Goes Into Being A ‘Genius’.