Einstein's Big Idea

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Over 100 years ago, Albert Einstein grappled with the implications of his revolutionary special theory of relativity and came to a startling conclusion: mass and energy are one, related by the formula E = mc². In "Einstein's Big Idea," NOVA dramatizes the remarkable story behind this equation.

E = mc² was just one of several extraordinary breakthroughs that Einstein made in 1905, including the completion of his special theory of relativity, his identification of proof that atoms exist, and his explanation of the nature of light, which would win him the Nobel Prize in Physics. Among Einstein's ideas, E = mc² is by far the most famous.

Yet how many people know what it really means? In a thought-provoking and engrossing docudrama, NOVA illuminates this deceptively simple formula by unraveling the story of how it came to be.


Albert Einstein - Aidan McArdle
Mileva Maric - Shirley Henderson
Michael Faraday - Steven Robertson
Brande - Gregory Fox-Murphy
Chater - Alex Macqueen
Humphry Davy - Sam West
Newman - Robert Styles
Hermann Einstein - Brendan Fleming
Proffesseur Fritz Muhlberg -  Mike Sarne
Marie Anne Lavoisier - Ty Glaser
Antoine Lavoisier - Julian Rhind-Tutt
Count de Amerval -  Philip Herbert
Baroness de la Garde - Di Trevis
Marat - Stephen Noonan
Manson - James Tovell
Besso - Rowan Schlosberg
Maxwell - Richard Hansell
Emilie du Châtelet -  Hélène de Fougerolles
Charles de Breteuil - Ian Duncan
Emilie's Tutor - Richard Mulholland
Emilie's Father - George Layton
Voltaire - Anton Lesser
Algarotti - Daniel D'Alessandro
Maupertuis - Andrew Callaway