November 23rd, 2008

elizabeth fry border

Einstein and Eddington

I watched "Einstein and Eddington" yesterday evening, starring David Tennant and Andy Serkis. Perhaps unlike many viewers I'd known the name of Eddington before, since I'd come across it when reading about Quaker scientists.
His Quaker background was done quite well, although there were a couple of oops moments: where they had what appeared to be a meeting for worship and he spoke immediately after his sister, instead of leaving the usual pause for reflection. And the scene where he said something like, "I swear on everything I hold dear ..." which is a no-no since Quakers wouldn't swear an oath, and particularly in the context of academia, Quakers weren't allowed to hold official positions in university until 1871 because one of the criteria was an oath about religious belief. However both these slips I can accept from a dramatic point of view, and I don't think anyone without Quaker knowledge would even have noticed.
His possible gayness was explored, and provided a poignant example of the love that dare not speak its name when Sir Oliver Lodge (Jim Broadbent) was mourning his son.

What was wonderfully done was explaining the concepts of the science, the scene with the table cloth was a great visual. And the background of the First World War was a sobering reminder of the possible uses of discoveries.