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Particle Fever

Documentary about the construction of the CERN Large Hadron Collidor which led to the discovery of the Higgs boson, an important fundamental particle that was predicted from physics theory in the 1960’s. The movie works well for many reasons: 1) it takes what many might consider a boring topic and makes it into a pretty suspenseful and, in the end, emotional story; 2) you get to hear a bunch of really smart physicists talk in plain language about the work they do and their love of it (the rap song they do at one point in the movie is really quite fun); 3) it raises (even if briefly) the tension between theoretical and “real world” or economic importance of scientific discovery; and 4) it is a contemporary story of pure deductive science – it is so fascinating how a theory leads to predictions that can take decades to be proven correct. Big thumbs up from me for a movie that captured the excitement of scientific discovery using language that most of us can understand. (2014; 4.5 stars)

About Gary Burkholder

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