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Particle Fever (2013)

Particle Fever (2013)

David KaplanFabiola GianottiSherwood BoehlertJoel Hefley
Mark Levinson


Particle Fever (2013) is a English movie. Mark Levinson has directed this movie. David Kaplan,Fabiola Gianotti,Sherwood Boehlert,Joel Hefley are the starring of this movie. It was released in 2013. Particle Fever (2013) is considered one of the best Documentary movie in India and around the world.

As the Large Hadron Collider is about to be launched for the first time, physicists are on the cusp of the greatest scientific discovery of all time -- or perhaps their greatest failure.

Particle Fever (2013) Reviews

  • Short on the science; long on the human factors


    Although this is a documentary about the world's greatest scientific undertaking, there's no need for those who've abandoned hope of understanding physics or other advanced sciences to roll their eyes and move on. This one is less about the abstract principles and obscure questions motivating thousands of scientists and dozens of governments to collaborate on the massive European nuclear facility CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) than about the personal and human factors behind it. The script offers some degree of Physics for Dummies (present company included), in trying to explain the basics of what we know about subatomic particles, and what proving there's such a thing as the Higgs boson could mean about the nature of existence. The so-called "God Particle" was posited as the reason atoms collect to form all matter, including life as we know it, in the universe. Supposedly, learning not only that it exists, but what it weighs could either support arguments for some sort of intelligent or symmetrical design, or a cosmic randomness that might pervade through innumerable parallel universes. But before you doze off, remember this is mainly about the people behind the curtain. We learn about their dreams and motives. We even share in many of their lighter moments, along with the suspense of whether this massive undertaking would even work, what it would help us understand, and where any results might lead academic endeavors in multiple disciplines for generations to come. It's less scientifically informative, or slickly produced, than the new incarnation of Cosmos that's been running on several TV networks. But it's more intimate in showing relatable emotions among the brainiacs who've devoted years of their lives to this highly speculative venture. Perhaps the best feature of the film is its clarity about the underlying difference between science and other human pursuits like religion or politics. Everyone at CERN was seeking objective, provable answers, even if they unraveled their own beliefs. And all were dedicated to the mission with absolutely no idea of what commercial uses, if any, their outcomes might engender. It's the purity of human curiosity at its finest. Learning for its own sake. No one at NASA expected the space race to leave us with Tang and other related products. Time will tell on the practical applications and cultural developments we'll receive from the labors of these scholars. For now, it's reassuring to know they've got a place to find the answers.

  • Why we (should, perhaps) care


    The Large Hadron Collider is a gigantic experimental apparatus, conceived in an attempt to discover the fundamental particles that make up the universe. This documentary about it is relatively light on the physics: in concentrates on the hopes of some of the scientists working on it, conveying their innate excitement for their subject rather than the technical details of how and why. But it does convey some of the reasons why this work is (at least theoretically) important: the Higgs Bosun, the previously elusive particle that was target number one for the LHC, is central to modern physical models of the universe; and moreover, determining its mass would help us choose between two broader theories: one is which the universe exists in a state of perfect symmetry, and the other in which it is just one of a huge array of universes, each with their own peculiar properties. And I think the documentary succeeds in inducing its audience to share these concerns. How this relates to the world as we perceive it on a daily basis is very unclear; but the urge to understand is something very fundamental in our humanity, and 'Particle Fever' conveys this well.

  • Far better than Oscar material: Every student, whatever age, should watch this film


    This is one of the two or three best documentaries I've ever seen. We were so lucky to see an advance screening at our movie preview club. It's hard to believe that a documentary about particle physics and the Hadron collider could be dramatic, suspenseful, even thrilling. It's just as hard to make the subject matter - the creation and operation of a huge facility in Switzerland for the purpose of colliding sub-atomic particles at great speed to search for clues about the universe - both intelligible and accessible. Yet this film has brilliantly done both. Accessibility is achieved partly through clear explanations from particle physicist (and co-producer) David Kaplan and other theoretical physicists, and several experimental physicists who work at the collider. Even more compelling are the clear, beautiful, and simple-to-understand graphics that accompany these explanations. Indeed, the great graphics begin right from the opening credits. All this is enhanced by the editing of multi-Oscar-winner Walter Murch. The drama comes from the efforts of the experimentalists to prove the theorists' ideas true - especially the existence of the "Higgs boson," the crucial particle of modern physics. The drama is enhanced by presenting a pleasant cast of surprisingly normal, friendly (and, of course, super-smart) physicists who have strong rooting interests in the outcome the way some of us might root for a sports team - but with so much more at stake. There's even tension (albeit friendly) between the "multi-universe" and "dual symmetry" camps. Watch this film and you'll understand these phrases and so much more. I learned more than I ever thought I could. And in the most pleasant, enthusiastic, accessible way possible.

  • Engaging Documentary That Tells Us a Lot About the Ways in Which 'Science' is Viewed in Western Cultures


    Superficially PARTICLE FEVER is a quest-narrative charting the search by a group of 4000 physicists at a variety of locations - Geneva, Princeton, Texas, for a particle that might provide the key to the way the universe works. There are several obstacles placed along the way, including an inconvenient breakdown of the machinery used to conduct the experiment, but the film ends on an optimistic note as the quest is concluded, and everyone celebrates through internet links. Mark Levinson's film contains a fair amount of technical language spoken by a variety of interviewees, including physicists Martin Aleksa, Nima Arkani-Hamed, Savas Dimopoulos, and Fabiola Gianotti (among others). A lot of it is difficult, well nigh incomprehensible for nonspecialists to understand, but as the documentary unfolds, it soon becomes clear that the quest to prove the theories behind the particles is a peripheral element of the narrative. Levinson is far more interested in showing how the project involves representatives from different nations working together in a community of purpose - even those originating from countries (e.g. the United States, Iran and Iraq), which are supposedly at war with one another. The sight of them participating so enthusiastically offers a hope for the future; beneath the rhetoric expressed by politicians and warmongers there lurks a genuine desire for co-operation across cultures. Perhaps if more attention were paid to these initiatives, then the world might be a safer place. More significantly, Levinson's film shows that the so-called "two cultures" theory espoused by C. P. Snow and other writers has been satisfactorily exploded. Snow insisted that the "arts" and the "sciences" could never work cohesively with one another: one was interested in "ideas," the other in "truths." PARTICLE FEVER begins by insisting that the scientists are pursuing universal "truths" that would help individuals understand the worlds they inhabit; but as the documentary unfolds, so several of the scientists admit that their conclusions will be tenuous at best, and always subject to renegotiation. Put another way, they admit that "truth" is a relative term, dependent on the context in which the term has been employed; this knowledge lies at the heart of all "artistic" endeavors as well. We understand that both communities are engaged in similar activities; the need to discover new things about the world we inhabit and share them with others. This is what drives new research, irrespective of whether it is in the "arts" or the "sciences." Ultimately PARTICLE FEVER is an uplifting film that demonstrates the value of common research, and how it can be conducted across all platforms and all disciplines. Let us hope that the group of scientists have been inspired to continue their valuable work.

  • Meet the people who "found" the Higgs boson at CERN


    This is a documentary that physicists will love, as will others who really love science. It's the kind of film that carefully explains the difference between theoretical and experimental physicists. If that kind of distinction interests you, then you will like the film. A lot of physics jargon is tossed around in this film with no explanation so you need to bring a working knowledge of particle physics if you want to fully understand the discussions. If you don't know what a GeV is and that lack of knowledge is going to bother you, then you will not like this film. If you enjoy an explanation of the opposing physics theories of supersymmetry and the multiverse, then this is your film. Also, if math scares you, there are blackboards and whiteboards full of some of the hairiest equations you're likely to see. If you find such things frightening, just turn away. However, if you'd like to meet people who have staked 10, 20, 30, even 40 years of their career on the moment when the ATLAS team finally announced "We've got it!", then this film is for you. This film paints an accurate though relatively lightweight picture of the years spent making the world's largest machine, the LHC (Large Hadron Collider), operational and then confirming the existence of the Higgs boson 40 years after it was predicted in theory. It's exciting to see scores of smart people stretching their brains to the limit so that they can understand something truly fundamental about the universe. Although billions of particles were smashed in the LHC experiments needed to confirm the Higgs, you will mostly see calm scenes of crops growing in the LHC's vicinity. There are no car chases or crashes, no battling giant robots, no aliens. There are just lots of smart people saying highly intelligent things, most of the time. When they drop into small talk or take time out to brew an espresso, it's actually jarring. (At least it was to me.) About the audience: There were about 40 people in the movie showing I attended on a Sunday afternoon. Every single one of them looked like they had an advanced degree in physics or some other hard science. Indeed, that's who this movie is made for.


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