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"Particle Fever" (2013) - Directed and Co-Produced by Mark Levinson, Narrated and Co-Produced by David Kaplan


DonRocks
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"Particle Fever" is perfect for people who have heard of the Large Hadron Collider and the Higgs Boson Particle, but don't know why they're important, or have any idea about the mathematics behind them.

Its target audience is "intelligent laymen," and the documentary is not condescending (well, maybe in parts, but in general, no).

You will walk away from this 100-minute film with a conversational understanding of both the collider and the boson, and will get to live through the same thrill the scientists lived through while "confirming its existence." It really is quite an exciting ride.

Along the way, you'll meet people who seem like you and me, but are, in reality, some of the top scientists in their fields - the type of people who get nominated for Nobel Prizes, and at no time will you be bored.

It is said that hiring Walter Murch to be the film's editor really made it stand apart from generic documentaries - he brought just enough of Hollywood into it that it's suspenseful.

This should be shown in every high school in the country, so students can have a basic understanding of these important concepts. You won't regret investing the time watching it.

SPOILER ALERT

One of the most poignant moments of the film is seing Peter Higgs (of the Higgs Boson) tearing up as it looks like his particle - which he theorized in 1964 (fifty years ago!) being all-but confirmed in a second, independent measurement. Higgs won the Nobel Prize for Science later in 2013 for this confirmation.

It should be mentioned, however, that there are criticisms of the Standard Model, and here is one particularly hostile put-down of the model by gadfly-crank, Alexander Unzicker. I do not know enough theoretical physics to voice an opinion on whether this man is just an angry quack, or if he makes some valid points (I suspect it's a little of both - the Standard Model and some of its offshoots is ridiculous in its complexity, and it *does* seem like physicists these days are designing experiments around theories, instead of vice-versa).

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