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Particle Fever (2013)

7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 939 users   Metascore: 87/100
Reviews: 17 user | 27 critic | 18 from Metacritic.com

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 ...
Himself
Nima Arkani-Hamed ...
Himself
Savas Dimopoulos ...
Himself
Monica Dunford ...
Herself
Fabiola Gianotti ...
Herself
David Kaplan ...
Himself
Mike Lamont ...
Himself
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Asmina Arvanitaki ...
Herself
James Beacham ...
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Jed Biesiada ...
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Christophe Clement ...
Himself
Andy Cohen ...
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Katherine Copic ...
Herself
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

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

29 September 2013 (USA)  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$869,838 (USA) (27 June 2014)
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Company Credits

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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

Savas Dimopoulos: The things that are the least important for our survival, are the very things that make us human.
See more »

Connections

References Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
An extremely well conceived, tight documentary on an exciting but challenging subject: the nature of human discovery
5 May 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I generally evaluate films on their technical direction and production values, not necessarily their deep meanings -- because as a student of film and a video producer, I know how subjective those "deep-meaning" criteria can be.

I found this film to be an exciting, well-crafted, exceptionally well-edited and sound- designed production. No one in the audience seemed ready to drop off as is so often the case with documentary features. Instead, the director's timing was precise and the arc of the story very well formed. But there was much more happening in this movie below the surface.

The Hadron Collider is as one figure in the film indicated, the largest machine ever constructed by human beings ("machine" being meant as a mechanical unit, not a network like the Internet -- although even the Internet was essential to the successful use of the Collider, to distribute all of the data generated to various locations where it could be processed and analyzed). The drama of its conception was left a little vague, but from the time that construction began to the time it was used to look for the Higgs Boson, the characters involved are well portrayed and their motives thoroughly probed -- in an amazingly short time!

The physics behind the quest for the "God Particle" are not all that hard to understand and besides, the film does a great job of simplifying even further so that anyone with a basic high school education should be able to follow the story and its implications.

I particularly enjoyed the "main" characters, some of the key thinkers whose speculations as physics "theorists" fired the imagination of physics "experimentalists" who are driven to test the others' speculations. The give and take between the two communities gave the film its energy and tension. I hope there will be sequels following down the next round of experiments, to take place in Sweden, where an even bigger collider is being built -- and also the physicists, how their lives are turning based on the results gotten from this unique, massive exploration of the fundaments of existence itself.

PS PARTICLE FEVER is not all youthful, bubbly energy and joyful discovery. The stories of the older physicists, facing their retirement from the field possibly without ever finding elusive answers to questions they posed decades earlier in their lives, was real hankie material -- and for good reason. In the field of particle physics, like other achievement-driven/self-promotional professions, it's not how smart you are but when you're smart, if luck is on your side and you timely get noticed, validated, and lauded. Miss the mark, and you may be relegated to obsolescence even if your mind is still active and your ideas large. Fortunately in this case, most of those with long-ago aspirations have lived long enough to have their ideas tested and thus learn their truth.

Interesting how personal meaning and the meaning of the universe -- or multiverse, according to one theory tested by the Collider -- are so intertwined. And which really is the more important, a question about which there is no easy answer.

See this film, you will emerge glad for the experience, with big questions yet to be answered.


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