National Geographic Channel photo of Neil deGrasse Tyson and Ron Howard.
National Geographic Channel photo of Neil deGrasse Tyson and Ron Howard.

Einstein’s Genius, with Ron Howard

Neil deGrasse Tyson and Ron Howard. Credit: National Geographic Channel
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About This Episode

“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious,” said Albert Einstein. We beg to differ. On this episode of StarTalk Radio, Neil deGrasse Tyson, comic co-host Harrison Greenbaum, and astrophysicist Janna Levin celebrate the life and legacy of Einstein himself, accompanied by Neil’s interview with director Ron Howard, who directed the National Geographic Genius series that explored Einstein’s life.

Ron shares why he agreed to sign on to this Einstein project after rejecting multiple scripts for Einstein movies. Find out what Ron found most interesting about Einstein besides his discoveries. Harrison tells us about his close family connection to Einstein. You’ll also find out why Ron thinks making shows and movies based on true events, like Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind, is liberating. 

Explore Einstein’s theory of general relativity and how it re-shaped the universe around us. Investigate Einstein’s use of Gedankenexperiments – “thought experiments.” We reflect on Einstein’s annus mirabilis, or “miracle year” of 1905, in which he came up with the theory of special relativity, the E = mc2 equation, and his Nobel-prize winning work on the photoelectric effect. 

Learn about Einstein’s complicated relationship with the atomic bomb. You’ll also hear  about what Einstein called “the happiest thought of his life.” We look at the different types of genius, ponder if genius like Einstein’s could happen in today’s world, and reflect on the importance of collaboration. Janna explains the peculiar rhythm of conversation that occurs when physicists are working together. Lastly, you’ll find out how relativity played a factor in Neil meeting his wife. All that, plus, we investigate the relationship between genius and mental stability.

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