Albert Einstein, the German-born Nobel laureate, died sixty-two years ago today in Princeton, New Jersey.
On April 23, a new ten-part series devoted to his life and legend, Genius, will debut on the National Geographic channel.
The show, starring Geoffrey Rush and directed by Ron Howard, was filmed largely in the Czech Republic, in Prague, Liberec, Jablonec nad Nisou, and Karlov.
It owes a bit of its authenticity to Charles University Professor of Mathematics and Physics Jiří Podolský who was a consultant on the set.
Professor Podolský was even tasked with designing the formulas and equations seen on Einstein’s blackboard, which plays an essential role in several scenes.
In today’s Atkualne.cz, Podolský revealed some interesting facts about Einstein’s time in the Czech capital, which purportedly gave rise to his theory of general relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics.
The brilliant mind worked in Prague for three semesters from April 1911 to July 1912 at the Institute of Theoretical Physicists.
According to Professor Podolský, the famous scientist was smitten with Prague; writing to friends that it was “beautiful to look at.”
Einstein’s love of Prague’s elegant, 100-year-old Café Louvre has been well documented, but which other parts of the city did he enjoy?
From the windows of his apartment in Smíchov, on what is now Lesnická Street, he liked watching the river and enjoying the view of the Prague bridges.
“He praised the then modern townhouse at Palacký Bridge, where he lived; he had electricity, an elevator,” Podolský told the publication.
A memorial plaque on today’s Charles University Faculty building commemorates the Einstein years, however, Einstein lectured primarily at the Klementinum.
Across the street, he could see the gardens of a former insane asylum, today the Neurological Clinic of the General Teaching Hospital. Legend has it that Einstein pointed out the window and said: “You are fools who do not deal with the theory of relativity.”
Einstein played violin at the weekly salon of intellectual Berta Fanta in the House at the Golden Unicorn at 551 Old Town Square. Now a bookstore, there is an Einstein plaque above the door.
While the famed physicist praised the Czech capital, he also noted that its inhabitants were arrogant and Prague badly bore growing nationalism, especially within the German minority.