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Particle Fever (2013)

7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 545 users   Metascore: 87/100
Reviews: 12 user | 26 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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Title: Particle Fever (2013)

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Cast

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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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Asmina Arvanitaki ...
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James Beacham ...
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Christophe Clement ...
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Storyline

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

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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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Did You Know?

Quotes

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

References Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Short on the science; long on the human factors
1 May 2014 | by (st. louis, mo) – See all my reviews

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.


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