Particle Fever (2013)

I was recently inspired to start watching more documentaries (approximately one per week) and this is the third after Blackfish and American Experience: Tesla.

Large Hadron Collider

For every documentary, I try to hit three items. For Particle Fever, I have the following three:
1) My favorite visual was seeing the CMS detector.
2) This documentary reminded me that our theories (especially those in physics) are limited by our observations. The specific case here required the ability to discover and measure the size of the Higgs boson. The ability to disregard or modify existing theories would hinge on the ability to do so.
3) The documentary ended with a question which still doesn't quite have an answer: "What drives humans to seek answers to the unknown forces which drive the universe?"

Personally, the topic of this documentary is easy for me to swallow, but I think the documentary was organized and presented in such a way that would appeal to just about anyone with the slightest interest in the nature of our universe. Remember that scene in The Lion King when Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa were looking up at the stars and wondering what they were? Yeah, I think they would have enjoyed this documentary.

Overall, if you're big into physics then you probably already followed the news and know about half the story depicted in this documentary, but for anybody who missed out on the details of the event when it happened, then I would recommend this documentary.

American physicist David Kaplan

Instant Comments:
1a: The X-Ray trivia mentions showing two Rep. is a misrepresentation
1a: Oh, Johns Hopkins. I wonder how long he's worked there. [He joined in 2002 and is currently still there]
1a: Makes an analogy between the first beam and a birthday.
1a: His response to "What is the economic gain?" is first a humorous "I have no idea." And then follows up with mentioning radio waves and the intrinsic value of discovery.
1b: 5 stories tall. Wow.
1b: Hmm. People thought the world was going to end? At least that causes news.
1b: Seriously, all those components, that large structure. Works.
1b: "We destroyed that shit."
1b: Type A - a personality type characterized by ambition, high energy, and competitiveness, and thought to be susceptible to stress and heart disease.
1b: Haha. (33-minute mark)
1b: Those two phone calls received had to be created footage.
1b: Huh. A thought crossed my mind: are there any big events, other than Gold Fever, which use the word "fever"?

Italian physicist Fabiola Gianotti

1b: A similar image with Cosmos episode.
1b: Yeah, who decided to get the media involved.
1b: Great choice of music.
1b: Ha. These graphics.
1b: 140. Nice. That's my kind of universe (one within a multiverse with different constants)
1b: That's rough. But true, the bright side is at least he'd get to know rather than perhaps those who died without knowing one way or the other.
1b: More data pouring in. I was misled earlier (@1:11)! Hardly as bad as what the physicists dedicating their lives for this moment had to go through.
1b: Hmm. Wishful thinking? Supersymmetry vs. Multiverse
1b: Interesting to play against the wall like that.
1b: "And I missed my exit."
1b: Huh. I wonder who this guy is. Interesting that they're some documentary cameramen outside for that moment. I suppose that's also recreated. Like at 0:37.
1b: 125.3. What does that mean?
1b: 126.5. It's not quite 115.

British physicist Peter Higgs

1b: Peter Higgs
1b: It's interesting how it's referred to as the God particle. Did this start with media or academia? [There was a clip later that suggested the physicists didn't like this term][20180619: Apparently it originated as the title of a 1993 book about the Higgs boson.]
1b: Mathematics! (90-minute mark)
1b: I'd beg to differ that the discovery of the Higgs implies "physics works", at least it's not the first, which seems to be implied. There have been many correct predictions based on physics that one can argue "physics works".
1b: Shiva
1b: "Why do humans do science? Why do they do art? The things that are least important for our survival, are the very things that make us human." While there's some insight with his statement about pursuing knowledge we don't necessarily need to survive, I find we've acquired the luxury to do so. We've created parts in our society where we have others who do what we need to survive, yet consider rural areas. Do they pursue non-survival dreams? [I don't know, but I wouldn't think so.]
1a=20180617 4AM*, 1b=20180617 8AM*
*(comments have timestamps via Google Sheet)

Watched first twenty minutes 20180617 4AM, the rest 20180617 8AM (Amazon Prime Streaming)
Particle Fever (20132013) Mark Levinson. 99 min

Relevant Links:
Particle Fever (
Particle Fever (
Particle Fever (

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