E=mc2, Einstein and Nuclear Weapons Documentary - can you help?
Dear Mr. ,
I am a researcher for the film production company Darlow Smithson based in London and I am working on a documentary about "The biography of E=mc2 - The World's Most Famous Equation", based on the popular science book of the same name by David Bodanis (http://davidbodanis.com).
The director/writer is Kevin MacDonald who won an Academy Award in 1999 for the best documentary feature for One Day in September:
If you could take the time to answer my questions - after reading what the documentary will cover - it would be of great help to my research. Please do not hesitate to forward this e-mail to other relevant persons.
The documentary will cover the history of the following people involved with these topics. We wish to find nice anecdotes, specific related events, analogies to help visualize the science involved as well as important scientific facts:
• (E) Energy (Michael Faraday and Sir Humphry Davy)
• (m) Mass (Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier)
• (c) (Galileo, Jean-Dominique Cassini, Ole Roemer, James Clerk Maxwell, Einstein)
• (2) (Newton, Gottfried Leibniz, Willem sGravesande, Émilie Du Châtelet, Voltaire)
• E=mc2 Special Relativity (Albert Einstein, Mileva Marić-Einstein, Hans Albert and Eduard Einstein, Georg Friedrich Bernhard Riemann, Michele Besso, Henri Poincaré)
• Atoms, Nuclei, Neutrons, Radiation (Ernest Rutherford, James Chadwick, Enrico Fermi, Otto Hahn, Lise Meitner, Robert Frisch, Fritz Strassman, Hans Geiger, Niels Bohr, Schrödinger, Marie Curie)
• Uranium, Fission, Nuclear Weapons:
• Germany: The Virus House, Berlin, Leipzig, Werner Heisenberg, Hitler, Robert Döpel, Wilhelm Paschen, Berlin Auer factories
• Norway: Vemork (Norsk Hydro Plant for Heavy Water), I.G. Farben company, Knut Haukelid
• USA: Manhattan Project, Hanford (Washington), Los Alamos, Tennessee factories, Enrico Fermi, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Roosevelt, Lyman J. Briggs, Mark Oliphant, Ernest Lawrence, Emilio Segrè, Leslie Groves, Richard Feynman, John von Neumann, Edward Teller, Hans Bethe, Niels Bohr, George de Hevesy, Eugene Wigner
• Technology requiring E=mc2 (Traditional TV Sets, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), lasers, computer chips, key aspects of the modern pharmaceutical and bioengineering industry, medical diagnostics, radiation treatment for cancer therapy, all the Internet switching devices, smoke detectors, emergency exit signs, nuclear submarine, nuclear energy plants, Carbon 14)
• E=mc2 reactions on the sun: Cecilia Payne (spectroscopy, hydrogen on the sun)
• Star Implosion, Creating the Earth, Big Bang (Fred Hoyle, Paul Dirac)
• Black Hole formations, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar
• General Relativity (Einstein, Erwin Freundlich, Marcel Grossman, Arthur Stanley Eddington, Maja, Elsa and Margot Einstein)
• Einstein achievements and celebrity, E=mc2 being the most famous equation in the world even though most people don't really know why or understand what it means
Question 1: Do you know anything interesting concerning the topics and the people that will be discussed in this documentary?
Question 2: Is there anyone or anything missing from what we intend to cover?
Question 3: Do you know any relevant books or articles about these topics that I could use for my research?
Question 4: Would you have any ideas of interesting people who could appear in the documentary and to which topic do you think they could contribute?
Question 5: We are going to dramatize many elements of Einstein's life. Which parts of his life or which anecdotes do you feel would do nicely in the documentary and where could I find details about those anecdotes?
Question 6: How is E=mc2 relevant and important today to you, to others and to your work? Where and on what are we using it? And particularly, how are we using it exactly? (We would like to show on the screen how E=mc2 is used today… what technology does in order to apply the equation.)
Question 7: Why do you feel Einstein and particularly E=mc2 are so popular with the public and have reached this celebrity status? Do you have any anecdotes about how popular they are?
Question 8: Do you think this popularity is justified? Considering what Einstein discovered, was it truly amazing or was it just built on others' research? Was Einstein just a part, an element of the Relativity or was he truly the essential and central part of these revolutions in physics? If he had not discovered it, who else might have?
Question 9: Do you know anyone knowledgeable I should contact, like perhaps some physicists who worked on the nuclear weapons in Germany or in America?
Question 10: Do you know of anything classified about the nuclear weapon programs in the US and in Germany that could have become available now that it has been 50 years?
Question 11: What scenes or which parts of the story about the making of the atomic bomb should we show in the documentary?
Question 12: Is there any other equation or anyone else who had more impact or deserved as much attention as Einstein and E=mc2? Who and what would be next?
Question 13: We are looking for nice analogies to represent on the screen what are E=mc2, energy, mass, nuclear weapons, etc. Do you have ideas about how we could show nice images and analogies to help the audience visualize what it is all about?
Question 14: In this quest for the Theory of Everything, is there any chance that E=mc2 might be replaced by something better or more accurate? Even, do you have any reason to believe that there could be something wrong with E=mc2 and that it does not exactly explain everything? Any idea why or what these problems are? Do you know anyone who truly believes that Einstein was wrong that I could contact?
Question 15: Do you know any anecdotes about how narcissistic and egocentric some scientists have been in the past, stories of betrayals or hiding the truth in order to save one's reputation? We are looking for specific events that could be reconstructed in the documentary.
Question 16: What are the main problems in science today that existed in the past: do you feel it could be better? (Like perhaps the sharing of information.) Do you know anyone who specifically talked about these issues?
Question 17: We are not limited to talking about what I have mentioned so far. Please tell me of anything important you feel should be addressed in this major documentary, give me your impressions about the whole project. We are also looking for anything scandalous, sensational, or simply unknown about the history of E=mc2 and the scientific community. We have the chance to not be so conservative compared to what is usually produced in these areas. Now is your chance to let it be known.
I wish to present an unbiased research, so anything positive about the German scientists and the "German Side" would be beneficial. The closest we are to the reality the better it will be for science in the long run. This documentary will probably have a big impact on how the public view the world of physics and especially theoretical physics.
Thank you very much for taking the time to answer these questions and provide information for the documentary. Please do not hesitate to contact me.
Roland Michel Tremblay
44E The Grove, Isleworth, Middlesex, London, TW7 4JF, UK
Tel: +44 (0)20 8847 5586 Mobile: +44 (0)794 127 1010