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Particle Fever (2013)

7.5
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Physicists are on the cusp of the greatest scientific discovery of all time -- or perhaps their greatest failure.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Martin Aleksa ...
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Nima Arkani-Hamed ...
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Savas Dimopoulos ...
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Monica Dunford ...
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Fabiola Gianotti ...
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David Kaplan ...
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Mike Lamont ...
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Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Asmina Arvanitaki ...
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James Beacham ...
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Jed Biesiada ...
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Christophe Clement ...
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Andy Cohen ...
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Katherine Copic ...
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Kyle Cranmer ...
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Albert de Roeck ...
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Storyline

Physicists are on the cusp of the greatest scientific discovery of all time -- or perhaps their greatest failure.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

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Details

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Release Date:

3 September 2014 (Netherlands)  »

Also Known As:

La fièvre des particules  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$42,968 (USA) (7 March 2014)

Gross:

$869,838 (USA) (27 June 2014)
 »

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Did You Know?

Goofs

Two Republican congressman speak against funding for the construction of the Superconducting Super Colider in Texas. This gives the false impression that it was Republicans who ended the project. The 1993 Congress had Democrat majorities in both the House and the Senate. Additionally, the President at that time was a Democrat. The leader of the effort to end funding for the project in the House was Democrat Jim Slattery. Voting to end the funding was bipartisan. See more »

Quotes

David Kaplan: Basic science for big breakthroughs needs to occur at a level where you're not asking "What is the economic gain?" You're asking "What do we not know, and where can we make progress?"
See more »

Connections

References Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The Excitement of a Scientifically Historic Event
5 September 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is not an educational film designed for physicists. Those who say the film is light on science should look to its title: "Particle Fever". What does "fever" refer to? Unbridled emotions--from joy to fear--that accompanied scientists' anticipation of an historic event: the operation of the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) in Meyrin, Switzerland.

The film explains how the theoretical basis for the CERN experiments dates back decades. Entire scientific careers have focused on theories that might be perfected or destroyed with data from the LHC.

Before I started watching this documentary, I decided that I was looking for clarity regarding the physics behind this endeavor. And I was hoping that the film would be engaging. The film is a success on both points. As a layperson, I could never hope to understand the mathematics of theoretic physics or the mechanics of experimental physics, but this film provides the basics for understanding the issues at play and their magnitude. Using a few "actors" to speak to the camera, especially those with overt enthusiasm and those who have invested their lifetimes in this arena of scientific thought, helped me feel their "fever" and understand the stakes.

For the most part, this film is presented chronologically, beginning in 2007 as the LHC becomes operational. History and theory are interspersed throughout the film.

The most anticipated results of the LHC data pertained to the Higgs boson, a theoretical particle critical to modern particle theory. Much of the drama, at least for those unfamiliar with the data CERN has provided over the years, concerns this particle.

This film also shows the relationship of the scientific community with media, which sometimes has the power to excite popular opinion for better or worse. Information presented about a CERN-like project in Texas illustrates that politics play its part, often controlling the purse strings.

On the downside, I found some of the universe theory to be anthropocentric and even anthropomorphic. Also, when Nima A. says it is "incredible" that the laws of nature are understandable via math, I understand what he means, but I wonder if there are other "maths" unavailable to us that could explain those laws of nature that are imperceivable by man. We can know but a small part of the multiverse. This is something astronomers have already accepted.


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