This highly informative and educational two hour BBC program was written and conceived by Nigel Calder, author of several books on science, including Einstein’s Universe, upon which this program is based. It is hosted by Peter Ustinov, who serves both as our guide to understanding Einstein’s theories and speaks Einstein’s words to make his presence felt throughout the program. Ustinov becomes educated in Einstein’s theories by many of the best minds in science, who provide demonstrations to illustrate his teachings. These include experiments to help understand gravity, warped space, how light responds to gravity, the “Doppler effect” and how radio waves, as used in police radar, are an unbeatable way of measuring speed. From these simpler experiments much larger concepts are drawn, such as the discovery of a Binary Pulsar, the nature of black holes and how they are created, and the ultimate theory of how the universe was formed. Other demonstrations measure the speed of light, how time passes more slowly for people traveling in an airplane, the incredible accuracy of the Atomic Clock in Washington, DC and how time itself would appear to stop at the surface of a black hole. The conclusion of the program portrays Einstein as a great humanitarian. Although known as the “father of the Atomic Bomb”, his greatest concern was for the potentially devastating effects splitting the atom could have on the future of mankind. His famous letter to President Franklin Roosevelt warned that although the splitting of the atom to detonate an atomic bomb could be used to end World War II, it could also potentially be used for far more deadly ends. This last thought is the subject of another Nigel Calder book, Nuclear Nightmares, and a second BBC program to explore this subject in more depth.
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