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Thursday, 01 May 2014 12:34

'Particle Fever' astonishes, amazes, and delights + Video

'Particle Fever' astonishes, amazes, and delights filmforum.org
Written by Diane Carson
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The documentary "Particle Fever" goes inside the world of theoretical and experimental physicists in their search for the Higgs boson. This particle, if found, would potentially change perspectives on scientific understanding of the universe. Enter the Large Hadron Collider and experiments to which over 10,000 scientists from over 100 countries contribute. "Particle Fever" follows six of them from 2007 to 2012.

As with real science, everything does not go according to plan, and this makes the $10 billion, 5-story, custom designed, hand soldered collider that much more fascinating. As director Mark A. Levinson takes us inside the underground structure housing the Hadron Collider, he shows its construction in time lapse, interviews and hangs out with some of the most talented individuals working today. For example, Fabiola Gianotti, Project Leader of the Atlas Experiment, is also an accomplished pianist. Scientist Monica Dunford runs marathons, cycles, mountain climbs, and rows in her leisure time.

The bona fides of the director, producer and crew testify to some of the talent behind this fine film. Director Mark Levinson earned a doctorate in particle physics from U.C. Berkeley before turning to film work. With his Ph.D. in theoretical particle physics, producer David Kaplan has taught at Stanford and Princeton. Walter Murch edited with his always-fine eye for rhythm and telling details. A multiple Oscar winner, Murch edited picture and/or sound for "American Graffiti," the "Godfather" films, "Apocalypse Now," and "The English Patient," among many others. And Claudia Raschke-Robinson is a veteran cinematographer, with a couple of Oscar nominations of her own.
Of course, none of the kudos matter if the science isn't accurate and the story compelling. In fact, many physics professors have praised the solid representation of the scientific inquiry and experiments so thrillingly and coherently described, totally accessible for the layperson as well. The captivating "Particle Fever" showcases artistic creativity, builds with suspense, and adds respect for "pure" science. At a Landmark Theatre.
 

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