Imagination Is More Important Than Knowledge 


I do not know how the Third World War will be fought, but I can tell you what they will use in the Fourth World War---rocks.

Albert Einstein

 National Geographic Channel “Genius” TV Series
10  50-minute episodes beginning Tuesday April 25, 2017 and ending Tuesday June 20, 2017 with a two-hour finale
Summary of the series 

Stars: Geoffrey Rush (mature Einstein), Johnny Flynn (young Einstein), Samantha Colley (Mileva Maric Einstein---first wife), Emily Watson (Elsa Einstein---second wife), T. R. Knight (J. Edgar Hoover), Shannon Tarbet (Marie Winteler) and Klara Issova (Marie Curie)
Directors: Ron Howard, Minkie Spiro, Kevin Hooks and James Hawes
Cinematographer: Mathias Herndl
Composers: Hans Zimmer (theme) and Lorne Balfe
Rating: PG 13 for themed material 

The word “genius” means someone who figures out---consistently---what others cannot. In the world of the late Albert Einstein, his intent was to find a formula that would contain the knowledge of creation. That particular formula is still being sought (reference Stephen Hawking). However, Albert Einstein did give the world many formulas for functional purposes. His specialty, though, was time and the E=mc2 is famous. So simple and yet encompassing. 

Albert Einstein is the first in a series of geniuses that the National Geographic Channel will showcase in their “Genius” series.  Author Walter Isaacson compiled a new slant on the life of Albert Einstein and wrote “Einstein: His Life and Universe” (2009) which came from personal Einstein letters of friends, family, lovers and colleagues. This wealth of material gives a view of the man that is revealing and sometimes, not kind. Einstein, you see, was a lady’s man and infidelity in a marriage was part of life. In the early episodes, we see that he was fond of his female tutor, Marie Winteler (Shannon Tarbet), then met and married Mileva Maric (Samantha Colley), who gave him two sons, Hans, who became a scientist, and Edward. 

Einstein’s marriage to Mileva was rocky. She was an intellectual (physicist) who put aside her career in science to marry and have children. Mileva used to go over Albert’s notes.  Even though married, Albert had a roving eye, and amid his classes, travels and writings, he met and had an affair (later marriage) to Elsa (Emily Watson) who was the opposite of the fiery Mileva. Elsa, was calm, somewhat of a home body and looked the other way at his women. The one thing that was prominent in these relationships seemed to be the realization that Albert was THE genius among his peers and everyone else came in second, third, fourth...  Albert seemed to acknowledge this. On the pedestal, there is only room for one. 

As the series progresses, we see the difficulty the Einstein’s had, being of the Jewish faith, in Europe and the mid-thirties with Hitler’s rise to power. Where could you go that was safe? America was it, and even there, where to settle? The West Coast or the East Coast? Princeton, N.J. it was and that is where Einstein taught and made his home.  All the while knowing that J. Edgar Hoover kept a suspicious eye on him. Was Einstein a spy or not? Such was life then. The Einstein family life in America revolved around Alfred and the media attention given to him. He always had a quip and in today’s world may have had his own television show, who knows? He wasn't always the best dresser, loved his walks, and had a full head of hair and a moustache. Einstein once said that if he hadn't gone into science, he would have been a musician. His love of music (violin) relaxed him and I am going to take a guess that the mathematical complexities of music was part of this. 

As far as acting, Geoffrey Rush does a credible Albert Einstein as a calmer man, while his younger self (Johnny Flynn) is the impatient, Einstein who shows a bit of ego every now and then. The man was always the smartest one in the room. Emma Watson as the second wife, Elsa, is also a calmer woman as opposed to the impatient and jealous Mileva. Elsa, it turns out, was also Einstein’s cousin. Of the many scientists mentioned in this series, I heard Niels Bohr give a speech. He tried to do it in English, but could not pronounce vital statistics well. 

As the series comes to a close, we see the Einstein family in America, where Albert teaches, helps members of the Jewish faith, and watches while his famous equations are being used for war purposes. Reference: the atom bomb. Grief is always nearby. 

“Einstein” is the first National Geographic exploration into the “Genius” series. Future installments will showcase other unique inpiduals who have changed the way we live. 

I wrote the poem below over 20 years ago from a news clipping. 


In a dusty glass container
third shelf, left side of a bookcase
rests the brain of Einstein.
Once, phrenology was a science
with intent to dissect cells,
study contours and see if there
was “something” to make mankind
as intelligent as the genius of E=MC2.
However, mankind had priorities
and the delivery man brought the package
on the day of a move.
The brain was placed on the bookcase
where it sits contemplating infinity.
Now, the great man is halved,
with pickled brain in Weston
and moldered bones in Jersey.
Scientists who mailed the package
ceased to wonder at the slow reply
and began investigating Bigfoot sightings.* 

*By Marie Asner from “An Inquiring Mind,” Green Meadow Press, 1993. 

For “Einstein“ series,  background music and cinematography are excellent. 


Copyright 2017 Marie Asner




“Einstein”, the first season of the National Geographic “Genius” television series began on April 25, 2017 and ends on June 20, 2017 with a two-part finale.  Each season of “Genius” will dramatize the stories of the world’s brilliant innovators. The first, “Einstein,” is based on Walter Isaacson’s book, “Einstein: His Life and Universe” (2009). Each episode explores Einstein’s scientific achievements and his volatile and complex personal relationships.The series will be shown in 171 countries and in 45 languages on the National Geographic Channel. For more information visit or follow on Twitter using  @NGC_PR.