Series of broadcast one hour, fact-based dramas about famous or should-be-famous scientists at critical points in their lives focusing on their human faults, virtues and humor as well as their scientific accomplishments. For the educational and entertainment market. Featured scientists include:
-Inventor Nicola Tesla at later stages of his life after he had been banished from mainstream science and the world, and was on the verge or either committing suicide or embarking on even bolder work, the products of such are still hundreds of years ahead of his time. Produced and aired, CBC/Global TV (CND).
-Albert Einstein in 1905 when he underwent an intense intellectual and spiritual transformation, in part because of what was going on between himself and his first wife, Mileva, who some say was the real brains behind Albert's work as well as the impetus to turn him into the pillar of human wisdom and social enlightenment he was to become. Produced and aired, Global TV (CND).
-Santiago Ramon y Cajal, rugged individualist 'backwater' politically-active Spaniard whose revolutionary work 'painting' the nervous system with the stains he developed with his money won him the 1906 Nobel Prize, This founder of modern Neuroscience had a very rocky relationship with his self-taught physician father, who actively and violently discouraged his beloved son from becoming an artist. In this 1935 episode, an elderly Santiago helps an emotionally-insecure wanna-be-German-Nazi Spanish scientist deal with his son's wanting to be a musician while the aging Cajal is working on a painting he is dedicating to his deceased, beloved and still estranged, father.
-Marie Curie, defiantly and colorfully Polish spitfire who broke her way into the male dominated world of European science with the help and active support of her French husband, and once 'boss', Pierre. After Pierre's death, Marie fell in love with a French biologist, Paul Langavin, whose wife was abusing him quite unjustifiably. When a vicious, washed-out-scientist working as a journalist found out about the relationship between Paul and Maria, he made it public, labeling Marie as a Bolshevik Polish Jewish Whore who should be killed. While Marie sneaked out to Stockholm to receive her Nobel Prize, mobs tried to burn down her house, and Paul had a duel with pistols in Paris. In this episode, Pierre, as a ghost, appears to Marie periodically and encourages her to be both brave with regard to the world, and follow her heart with regard to Paul.
-Gregor Mendel, the monk who founded modern genetics, was a brilliant mathematician and insightful scientist. He was also an active politician, using his position as a monk to democratize and liberalize Europe in the 19th century. However, he faked some of his scientific observations to fit his theoretical model of genetics. The secret is found out by a Pacifist-Anarchist-Intellectual who is hiding from Conscription in the Imperial Army within Mendel's monastery. Through their interactions we see and feel the struggles Mendel had with science, politics and his own conscience while he was trying to serve the greater good with an 'ends justifies the means' modality of thinking.
-George Washington Carver, born into slavery, became one of the most innovative African American scientists in history. He was also a highly spiritual and dedicated educator, encouraging young Negroes to prove their worth to bigoted Whites in the South by being smarter and more gracious than they are. In this episode, Carver takes a hot-headed young African American student (Andrew) on his rounds in the rural South educating farmers, and the car breaks down, in the middle of a farm field owned by a bigoted, broke and armed White man whose mentally-deranged and attractive White wife falls in love with Andrew. It's up to Carver to keep everyone alive, while figuring out how to cure the farmer's wife and restore his land so it can grow crops again.
-Harriett Brooks is a forgotten but not insignificant Canadian woman who was a pioneer in the area of Physics. The bookish and overly-considerate Harriett found her way to working with famed scientist Ernst Rutherford, over-expressive New Zealand visionary who set England and Canada on fire. Rutherford took Harriett under his wing, at great risk to his own career, and Harriett soared as a brilliant scientist whose discoveries rivaled Curie and Einstein---until she married a man who brought her back down into being 'just a woman', against her own common sense, and Ernst's advise.
Listed as a co-discoverer of radium and X-ray technology with her husband, Madame Curie remains a pioneer scientist in an age where women were seldom seen, and rarely heard in scientific circles. She was a close friend of Einstein, and a savvy Renaissance woman who knew how to negotiate around the barriers presented to someone of her gender. She also trained several women who wanted to enter the scientific profession, privately, and in what would have been very revealing times, particularly after the death of her husband.
Madame Curie's work gave international attention to the Nobel Prize as it related to cross-disciplines, including merging of physics with medicine and chemistry.
What most of the world does NOT know is that Marie Curie was a feisty, outspoken, poetic and sensuous Polish 'foreinger' who invaded the French scientific establishment by storm, working side by side AND independently of her pro-feminist, and beloved, husband Pierre. Pierre died young, a victim to radiation poisoning, encountered while the two renegades were hot on the trail of charactarising and capturing the newest form of Energy since electricity.
After Pierre's death, Marie Curie had an affair with a married French biologist, Paul
Lavengan, who had an 'understanding' with his wife in the spirit of the well-accepted Napoleonic Code. But Mme. Lavengan had other ideas, looking to blackmail the ever-rising star of Science and Feminism, enlisting the lowest form of journalists and anti-Semites in her manipulative, vengeful plot to publicize the affair. The situation drew her husband, Paul, into a real-life pistol duel with a washed-out scientist who became infamous as a promoter of bigotry and Fascist propaganda in pre WWI France. In the same year that Marie Curie received he Nobel Prize, she was being slandered in the lay press all over Europe.
What would the ghost Pierre Curie have said to Marie during 'visits' to her while she was having this affair, and continuing her science, recalling past days of
wondrous discovery, and anticipating a brave new world to come in the wake of their earth shattering discoveries?
(Script available upon request)
In contrast to European-originated science where a discovery bears the name of its discoverer, the community is given credit to scientific breakthroughs in most Aboriginal cultures, that knowledge passed on orally, preserved by strict protocol. Such is the history of 'Medicine Mountain', a very real location in Interior British Columbia on which grow life-promoting herbs and other botanicals that were, and continue to be, used by Native healers. The Mountain was located in the 'border-zone' between several tribes including the
Lillowat, Okenagen and Shuswap. Blessed with an ecosystem that supported a miraculously-large variety of health-promoting plants, it was designated as a 'neutral zone' from which all tribes could gather what they needed, at specific times of the year, and with specific 'permits'. No blood was ever shed on the mountain, though many braves lost their lives in battles around it.
What would happen if a young Harvard-trained physician in search of medicines and food for a Wagon Train of settlers were to run into Medicine Man who educated him in the ways of healing mind, body AND spirit of his patients? To be shot on location of the actual 'Medicine Mountain' that, despite massive logging, still exists today.
'Survivor' Siberian Style.
The history of Russian settlement of Siberia is much like European expansion in North America. An explorer from Moscow planting a flag on the Pacific Beach at Vladavostok in the seventeeth Century, or even the 20th century, hardly was a realistic claim to Mother Russia having juristiction over the Siberian wilderness. The reality of Russian expansion into Siberia was that European-educated Orthodox Christians who listened to Pagan Shamen who knew how to survive in the wilderness. The Russians were not the only group of invaders to Siberia. The Japanese moved into the region in the 18th and 19th Centuries, resulting in Russo-Japanese conflicts that persist even today.
What if a Russian engineer building the Trans-Siberian railroad and a Japanese military officer were stranded in Eastern Siberia, their survival dependent upon working with each other, and the help of a Native Hermit who knows how to keep his 'guests' fed during a winter storm? Said Hermit is a composite character of a misunderstood Shamen genius whose tribe voted him out, who finds out from the Japanese soldier that his daughter is still alive, pregnant, and waiting for him in Japan. He helps his two guest move on to the next destination, building all manners of boats, sleds and wagons to catch the last boat out from
Vladavostock. A race against time which requires all three cultures to merge technologies for the common good.
Western science forgets that it was Islamic scientists in the East who laid down the foundations for modern mathematics and astronomy. While scientific investigation in Europe was repressed by the Church, religion spurred on science in Islamic countries. An example of this is found in the early 15th Century Afghanistan. Ulugh Beg was grandson to
Timur, a Conqueror whose Empire spread from Turkey to India. When barely in his 20s, Ulugh set out to establish a center for multi-disciplinary investigations in the arts and sciences which became a focal point for the greatest minds of his time, and an Observatory bigger than any previously known.
Ulugh was a participatory director of his Institute, inviting free and open discourse of all who attended meetings he hosted. The results included binomial theorem, tables of sines and tangents, and determining the location of nearly 1,000 stars in ways that could be used for various purposes, including navigation and calendar keeping.
Framing the segments:
Intros to the pieces will be done by a high-profile individual appropriate for the topic at hand. The end portion will outline key accomplishments of the scientist in the mainframe of history. Creative camera work and musical backdrops will make such expository narrative fluid, rather than stagnant.
More technological advancements have been made in the last 100 years than in the last 10,000, yet little is known about the inner lives of the people who changed science, which changed technology, which changed everything we do, feel and think. How did the original discoverers of our current day biology, physics and chemistry think, and feel? And how can their example inspire students and aspiring scientists of ALL ages and ethic backgrounds? The joy of discovery is universal to all people, but channeled in a particular manner.
The series has an EDGE which makes it relatable to more than techno geeks/nerds, and believable to a questioning adolescent and thinking adult audience. As an education tool, how inspiring it will be to profile people so dedicated to their passions to a world of people who do not know what their dreams are, or have given up on them!
Though scientists are portrayed as history says they really were, the 'champion' ideal is that of heart and intelligently-directed compassion. Even the most saintly of scientists had some traits that were less than admirable, and it is shown how these were destructive to the well being of the scientist and/or the Work.
The selection of the character with which the scientist interacts is carefully chosen to (a) bring out character traits in the 'genius' profiled, (b) accentuate telling of the story/science and (c) put on the screen characters from various ethnic backgrounds to maximize viewer appeal.
Scientists in this series and projected episodes from it will represent diverse ethic and racial backgrounds, and be of both genders. Appropriate 'lead' episodes for broadcasters will thus be available, (e.g., female scientists for
WTN, Aboriginal inventors for Aboriginal People's Television Network).
The settings for these dramas are one or two rooms, the two actors. Thus, low production costs are incurred relative to other dramas. Due to the Nature of the program, it is feasible to obtain the services of world-recognized actors for Scale or close to Scale Wages. As such, this will distinguish the series from many other science dramas/re-enactments.
Clever and innovative cinematography with simple special effects will be used to prevent these television dramas to become
'stagey'. Many styles of shooting currently accepted for other genres will be employed, most of these styles having emerged to reduce production time.
The format used will be HD video, significantly less costly than 35 mm film, and more appropriate for this 'personal' genre. Transfer to film is possible after the process if complete if/as appropriate.
Actors with global recognition may be drawn to this project because of the topic and nature of the programming. Flexible production schedules require said performer for one week. Dramatic actors who have taken to doing projects for the educational/'edu-tainment' marketplace include Alan
Alda, John Cleese, Jonathon Miller, etc. Many performers may have specific interests in scientific topics profiled because of their personal situations (e.g., Christopher Reeves, Michael J Fox).
Unique tax incentives/rebates are available for productions shot in Interior British Columbia. Standard Canadian labor expenditure (below the line) rebates for production done in Canada is 16%, with an additional Provincial rebate of 20%, plus a regional Interior incentive of 12.5%. Co-production with European television producers currently in negotiation.
Consultants/Contributing Writers and Researchers:
R.G. Pellegrino, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr Pellegrino obtained his MD from Albert Einstein College of Medicine and his Ph.D. from Yale. He is a world-renowned pioneer in the scientific design and humane application of clinical trials for drugs to treat neurological diseases and a host of other conditions. He has received numerous awards, including Top Outstanding Young American, a national award given to ten people a year, an honor which has bestowed on most of the Presidents and Vice Presidents of the United States at some time during their earlier lives.
M.F. Zanakis, Ph.D.
Doctor Zanakis is a multi-disciplinary inventor and scientist who has over 100 inventions to his credit in areas ranging from portable CAT scanners to pills to control obesity. He has held faculty posts at Cooper Union College of Engineering, New York College of Osteopathic Medicine and was research director at the Kesler Institute, the establishment that took care of Christopher Reeves during critical periods of his rehabilitation after spinal cord injury.
Jennifer Sass, Ph.D..
Doctor Sass has a Ph.D. in the biomedical sciences and is currently working within the political machinery of Washington as an intermediary party between government, industry and the academic scientific community. Agencies she works with on a continuous basis include the FDA and the EPA.
Mark Evered, Ph.D.
Professor Evered is presently Dean at the University of Saskatchewan, actively involved with formulating and initiating biomedical training programs at that institution.
John Iversen, D.V.M.
Professor Iversen is an internationally-recognized epidemiologist and microbiologist, currently based at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon.