Friday, June 19, 2015

Brandon R. Brown's "Planck: Driven by Vision, Broken by War"

Brandon R. Brown is a Professor of Physics at the University of San Francisco. His writing for general audiences has appeared in New Scientist, SEED, the Huffington Post, and other outlets. His biophysics work on the electric sense of sharks, as covered by NPR and the BBC, has appeared in Nature, The Physical Review, and other research journals.

Here Brown dreamcasts an adaptation of his new book, Planck: Driven by Vision, Broken by War:
You might not think a biography of a staid Prussian physicist would be a candidate for a movie, but the story of Max Planck, full of amazing characters and extreme events, has all the elements one might want for historical drama. The narrative has definitely been called “cinematic.”

For Max Planck himself, I’d vote for the stony-faced intensity of Ben Kingsley. Kingsley has the gravitas and fiery eyes for the role. He even has the sharp facial angles for the brave and tragic professor from Berlin. For Planck’s younger friend Albert Einstein, I would try an offbeat angle and cast Mark Ruffalo. That actor has the playful face of Einstein and he conveys a lot of inner turmoil in his non-superhero roles. And this is to say nothing of the hair – he could easily get the hair right, without a wig. And for Planck’s good friend and fellow-physicist Lise Meitner, I’d want Marion Cotillard. I think she would resonate very well with Meitner’s inspiring rise against social barriers (as a Jewish woman in German science) as well as Meitner’s inner conflict concerning her obsession with nuclear science versus having a positive societal impact.

There is so much casting left to do, given the enormous list of characters, from Planck’s son Erwin (a man active in the German resistance and eventually arrested by the Gestapo) to Adolf Hitler himself, and many others!
Visit Brandon Brown's website.

--Marshal Zeringue