Einstein's Big Idea


Episode Info

With dramatic historical reenactments featuring Aidan McArdle (Footprints in the Snow) in the central role as Albert Einstein and Shirley Henderson (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) as his wife, Mileva Maric, NOVA: Einstein's Big Idea climbs inside the most earth-shattering discovery of the 20th Century's most brilliant scientific innovator: that of the connection between matter and energy, encapsulated in his 1905 E=mc2 formula, an equation that ultimately yielded the atom bomb. The program also explores how Einstein's professional discovery rested on the foundational research of three of his contemporaries, all tragic figures - Lise Meitner, Antoine Lavoisier, and Michael Faraday - and how each individual's work, in turn, embodied one further step toward nuclear power.


John Lithgow
as Narrator
Aidan McArdle
as Albert Einstein
Shirley Henderson
as Mileva Maric
Stephen Robertson
as Michael Faraday
Julian Rhind-Tutt
as Antoine-Laurent Vavoisier
Richard Henshall
as James Clerk Maxwell
Helene de Fougerolles
as Emilie du Chatelet
Emily Woof
as Lise Meitner
Samuel West
as Humphrey Davy
Brendan Styles
as Hermann Einstein
Mike Sarne
as Prof. Fritz Muhlberg
Ty Glaser
as Marie Anne Lavioisier
Philip Herbert
as Count deAmerval
Di Trevis
as Baroness de la Garde
Ian Duncan
as Charles de Breteuil
Richard Mullholland
as Emilie's Tutor
George Layton
as Emilie's Father
Andrew Callaway
as Maupertuis
Chris Jenkinson
as Dr. Heller
Andrew Crabb
as Habicht
Michael Mueller
as Strassman
Simon Tcherniak
as Robert Frisch
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Einstein's Big Idea Photos