Science on Screen®: Worlds Collide – Particle Fever, CLASSE, and the Future of Particle Physics

Still from the film Particle Fever
still from the film PARTICLE FEVER

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, 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.

In this Science on Screen® event, Xuan Chen, a Postdoctoral Research Associate in particle physics at the Cornell Laboratory for Accelerator-based Sciences and Education (CLASSE) will explain the basic idea of particle physics, and how CLASSE is involved in building the instrumentation and creating new ideas to expand our knowledge of the universe with the Large Hadron Collider.

Science on Screen® is an initiative of the Coolidge Corner Theatre, with major support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Xuan Chen is a postdoc in particle physics at the Cornell Laboratory for Accelerator-based Sciences and Education (CLASSE). She received her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2021, and her research at Cornell focuses on developing the next-generation particle detector and search for dark matter with the data taken by the Compact Muon Solenoid experiment at the Large Hadron Collider.

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