The Riddle Of Einstein’s Brain, Channel 4

by | Jan 17, 2005 | All, Reviews

What to say if you liked it

A pair of fresh faced young boffins embark on a road trip through America to to test their beliefs through fabled mythology and experiments on Albert Einstein’s brain.

What to say if you didn’t like it

Two morons, who wear white coats as a frail emblem of their self-appointed scientific majesty, scamper about America like a pair of obsessed Michael Jackson fans to scour the convoluted mind and ideas of one of the century’s great thinkers.

What was good about it?

• Innovative theories about what could be the physical foundation of genius – the fact that two areas of Einstein’s brain (mathematics and special thinking) were almost conjoined perhaps enabled him to make great leaps of imagination.

• A clear explanation of Einstein’s epochal Theory of Relativity – that perception of time is dependent on where you are in the Universe; and more remarkably your awareness of time slows down in stressful situations (being hit by a car) and speeds up at times of joy (perhaps explaining female dissatisfaction with men during sex).

What was bad about it?

• Dr Jim Al-Khalil, who believed genius is more ideas than simple physical geometry, and Dr Mark Lythgoe, who thinks the nature of the brain contains all the evidence needed to quantify genius, were like Jeremy Clarkson’s irritating side-kicks on Top Gear with their forced opposing points of view.

• Dr Mark Lythgoe had an accent like Terry Christian.

The gruesome re-enactment of Einstein’s dissection was unnecessarily graphic.

• Dr Lythgoe was triumphant that his theory was correct because Einstein had abnormally high brain glials, which determine mental dexterity, although this was based on a singular example.

• The two doctors’ stilted conversations on the nature of genius as they raced across the deserts of America like doomed extras in a Wim Wenders road movie.

• Dr Thomas Harvey, who removed Einstein’s brain during his autopsy without permission, sat in front of a brimming bookcase as if to scream: “I am intelligent.”

And his deluded sense of self-righteousness was made more ludicrous and desperate as the only book title visible was the Holy Bible.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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