May/2017

Film Review: ‘Particle Fever’!!

by Gumbercules9000 on Apr 28th, 2014

Rebecca S., Here…

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Particle Fever is a documentary about the turning on of the Cern large hadron collider (LHC) for the very first time and what the results might mean to the scientific community and the physicists as they look for the Higgs bosom or “God particle”. I was lucky enough to talk my husband, who just happens to be a physics teacher, into watching this with me in case there were things I didn’t understand. For the most part I was able to follow without his help. The film has fortunately been made in such a way, that a laymen like myself can comprehend, if not fully understand what’s going on.

Unfortunately, anytime one of the physicists began writing out an equation, my brain started to shut down just a little bit because of the foreign nature of these formulas. Also, there is someone writing a brain stopping equation every couple of scenes within the movie, so by the end, I turned to my husband with as much brain power as I could muster and eloquently stated, “my brain is full.”

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That sentence pretty much describes the film. It’s such a massive download of information that at times I wished for a “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” style intermission sequence, just so my brain could process all of the information being thrown at it. And there is a ton of information given here.

The idea that smashing together protons could prove a multiverse reality is amazing to me and that this huge undertaking has been going on almost as long as I have been alive is just astounding.  Plus, you can never go wrong with drunk nerds rapping about particle collisions, which I enjoyed.

My husband and I both enjoyed the concept of this film and what it was trying to show people. It is not very often that one stands on the brink of a scientific shift in understanding  and gets to see what that means to the people working in the field. But unless you are super into physics and already understand the purpose of the LHC, then this is probably not the film for you.

In the end you’ll just be worried about the Higgs bosom particle being unstable and ripping our world apart at any moment. That’s enough to make any brain explode. But director Mark Levinson did a great job of showing the process and aftermath of what the LHC could do. But again, this documentary is not for beginners and newcomers to this type of realm.

3 out of 5 Stars

– Rebecca Steinberg

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