Particle Fever (2014)

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Critic Consensus: The concepts behind its heady subject matter may fly over the heads of most viewers, but Particle Fever presents it in such a way that even the least science-inclined viewers will find themselves enraptured.

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Imagine being able to watch as Edison turned on the first light bulb, or as Franklin received his first jolt of electricity. For the first time, a film gives audiences a front row seat to a significant and inspiring scientific breakthrough as it happens. Particle Fever follows six brilliant scientists during the launch of the Large Hadron Collider, marking the start-up of the biggest and most expensive experiment in the history of the planet, pushing the edge of human innovation. As they seek to unravel the mysteries of the universe, 10,000 scientists from over 100 countries joined forces in pursuit of a single goal: to recreate conditions that existed just moments after the Big Bang and find the Higgs boson, potentially explaining the origin of all matter. But our heroes confront an even bigger challenge: have we reached our limit in understanding why we exist? Directed by Mark Levinson, a physicist turned filmmaker, from the inspiration and initiative of producer David Kaplan and masterfully edited by Walter Murch (Apocalypse Now, The English Patient), Particle Fever is a celebration of discovery, revealing the very human stories behind this epic machine. (c) Abrorama

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Critic Reviews for Particle Fever

All Critics (49) | Top Critics (21)

Particle Fever explores with awe-inspiring precision, and in remarkably accessible language, how 10,000 scientists and engineers from around the world built what in effect is the ultimate test tube for particle physics.

Mar 21, 2014 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

The enthusiasm, idealism, and cheerful brilliance of the six subjects convey the thrill, if not the full significance, of this scientific breakthrough.

Mar 20, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

It plays out with all the suspense of a thriller.

Mar 20, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Levinson makes the story accessible and entertaining for mainstream viewers.

Mar 20, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Even the most math-averse viewer will be on pins and needs to know the results.

Mar 20, 2014 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

The filmmakers find room for some witty philosophical bull sessions and affectionate portraits of some of the physicists; this is an agreeable light entertainment on a complex subject.

Mar 13, 2014 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Particle Fever

Science: Real science about how our galaxy, our universe is built. In making scientific progress toward understanding how the world works, these scientists show infectious excitement and explain the basics of the Large Hadron Collider in terms most of us can grasp. The graphics and variety of international interview subjects keep the film from becoming too much like a dull university lecture. Then there is the fact that these scientists remind me of the cast of The Big Bang Theory. These are the sort of personalities that those characters are based upon.

Byron Brubaker
Byron Brubaker

Super Reviewer

For those like me with a background in physics and/or up to date on the subject, this doc won't offer much and will even prove to be a bit repetitious (and dull), as it wastes too much time on emotions instead of talking science, thus more recommended for the uninitiated than experts.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

An easy to digest, simply made movie about questions that aren't so simple.

Matthew Samuel Mirliani
Matthew Samuel Mirliani

Super Reviewer

"Particle Fever" is a fascinating and very informative documentary about the search for the missing Higgs Particle at CERN in Switzerland, with the man of the hour, Peter Higgs, making an appearance. As one post-doctorate physics student puts it, waiting for the Large Hadron Collider to go online, is like a whole bunch of six year olds the night before Christmas. With a huge amount of data that only the internet can handle, the collider is more than just the world's largest model train set, as there are four experiments running at the same time that take a huge amount of international cooperation to make it happen. And it is telling that two of the subjects were once political refugees. After all of that is said and done and all the particles collide with each other, what "Particle Fever" does best is make particle physics understandable to a layperson like yours truly and explains in plain language and fancy animation why all of this is so very important. That starts with the location of the Higgs Particle lying between two possible theories, Super Symmetry or a Multiverse which is not as cool as it sounds.(Probably.) Eventually we will see practical applications from these experiments which could turn out to benefit humanity immensely.(For example, radio waves were discovered before radio.) And am I the only one who is thinking time travel?

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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