'Genius': Albert Einstein's Wild Side Stars in New Nat Geo Series
Geoffrey Rush stars as Albert Einstein in National Geographic's "Genius."
Credit: Dusan Martincek/National Geographic

"Genius," a gripping new series about the life of Albert Einstein, makes its television debut tonight (April 25) on the National Geographic Channel. The show delves into the more controversial aspects of Einstein's life, including plenty of violence and debauchery right off the bat. 

Rather than portraying Einstein as the grandfatherly intellectual figure you might have imagined while learning about him in grade-school science classes, National Geographic reveals the famed scientist's lesser-known rakish and contentious side. [Photos: The 'Genius' of Albert Einstein on Nat Geo]

Einstein is widely known as one of the leading scientists of the 21st century, but most textbooks don't mention that he was also a disgruntled student, an adulterer and a Jewish refugee during World War II. While his work laid the foundation of modern physics, he was barred from attending scientific conferences because much of the scientific community deemed his ideas insane. 

Driven by the mysteries of space, time and light, Einstein sought to reconcile the fundamental forces and particles of the universe. He is best known for his work on relativity and his famous equation, E = mc2. "Genius" takes viewers on a journey through Einstein's brain as he gets lost in his own imagination while conceptualizing his ideas. You don't have to be a scientist to keep up with Einstein's extraordinary mind in this new show.

Johnny Flynn stars as young Albert Einstein and Shannon Tarbet plays his first girlfriend, Marie Winteler, in National Geographic's "Genius." Einstein is said to have come up with his theory of relativity while riding a bicycle.
Johnny Flynn stars as young Albert Einstein and Shannon Tarbet plays his first girlfriend, Marie Winteler, in National Geographic's "Genius." Einstein is said to have come up with his theory of relativity while riding a bicycle.
Credit: Robert Viglasky/National Geographic

During the show's premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on April 20, the show's executive producer Ron Howard talked about the visual thought experiments. "If you understand the science, it rings true," he said. "If you understand a little, maybe it even deepens your sense of what [the science] might be. And if you don't, maybe it opens a door. If you want to know more, it at least pushes you in the right direction to begin to deepen your understanding."

"Genius" delivers both clear science and the dramatic stories of Einstein's life. The new 10-part series airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on the National Geographic Channel. 

Email Hanneke Weitering at hweitering@space.com or follow her @hannekescience. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.