Physicist-produced documentary to appear in New York Film Festival

Sep 27, 2013

The temperature is heating up for Particle Fever, a documentary produced by Johns Hopkins University professor David Kaplan that highlights the construction of one of the most audacious ventures in modern science. The film will be screened on Sept. 29 and Oct. 2 at the New York Film Festival, one of the most prestigious in the country.

The New York Film Festival, formed in 1963 by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, is considered an essential launch pad for compelling independent and mainstream movies to find distributors, generate industry buzz or capture the attention of movie audiences. The festival is in its 51st year and will run from Friday to Oct. 13.

For Particle Fever, the showing in New York is the second prestigious North American festival booking this year. In late August, the film was shown at the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado.

"The goal all of these years was to produce something that would appeal beyond the scientifically literate – to tell the emotional and very human story behind ," Kaplan said. "I can't tell you how excited we are that we've made it into these mainstream and prestigious festivals."

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The documentary gives viewers an up-close look at one of the most significant as it is happening: the creation of the Large Hadron Collider. The LHC is an almost 17-mile tunnel beneath the France-Switzerland border, where physicists smash into each other at incredible speeds and look for amidst the wreckage. The full-length feature film follows six scientists as they attempt to recreate conditions that existed just moments after the Big Bang and could potentially explain the origin of all matter.

"The intensity of the scientists we follow is palpable," Kaplan said. "You see, once you start, you can't stop. Particle physics is addictive, like puzzles are to some people. These are just the greatest puzzles of all time, literally."

Kaplan, a who studies dark matter, supersymmetry, and the properties of the Higgs boson, has been consumed with the LHC for about a decade. His passion for the project lead him to the film's director and film editor, two men whose own passions are helping drive attention to the movie's central mystery.

Directed by Mark Levinson, a particle physicist turned filmmaker, the film is edited by Walter Murch, a member of the Johns Hopkins Class of 1965. Murch is an esteemed Hollywood film editor and sound designer who has worked on some of the most timeless and evocative movies in film history, such as Apocalypse Now, The English Patient and The Godfather trilogy. His book, In the Blink of an Eye: Perspectives on Film Editing, with a forward written by famed director Francis Ford Coppola, is considered the seminal text on movie editing and an industry must-read, Kaplan said.

"Mark came in at an early stage and has been an invaluable partner," he said. "We complement each other perfectly – my weaknesses are his strengths, and vice versa. And his schooling in allowed him to jump in at full speed. Walter joined the project two years ago, and he is a genius. What a privilege it has been to collaborate with him and watch him work."

While the exposure Particle Fever is receiving at film festivals may help find a distributor for the movie, Kaplan said fundraising has gone so well that he and the team of editors, producers and scientists that worked on the film are positioned to get it into theaters without a traditional distributor. The team is also considering science festivals and other outlets to screen the documentary.

"We are prepared to distribute the movie ourselves early next year if we can't find one," he said. "There's actually a greater return on investment if we do it ourselves."

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LarryD
not rated yet Sep 27, 2013
'beyond the scientifically literate...' Does this refer to layman like me, general public or is there really a section BEYOND the scientifically literate? The mind boggles.
Obviously just a wrong choice of words. Why didn't Kaplan just say 'the general public' if that's what he means.
Actually, I think it's a good idea helping to bridge the gap but then I doubt whether it can be done by other scientists without a similar kind of budget.
The other point is that there are TV companies that produce documentary type programs that can be viewed at home. But then this depends on choice viewing and if it coincides with a favorite 'Soap', well.....
Also there are now widely available, popular science books on the market not to mention the Net...so will the less informed, less interested, pay to see a documentary?
I'll be very interested to see how things progress from here. Good work, keep it/ the momentum up...
johanfprins
1 / 5 (7) Sep 28, 2013
Rooting to get more money to throw down the drain? The LHC at CERN is already the largest Cicus Show ever produced on Planet Earth. It has the largest ring, and the highest concentration of clowns that any circus has ever had. Do they want billions of dollars more to pay more Bozo's to hunt more fictitious Bosons? We have more serious physics challenges on which money should be spent!
vlaaing peerd
3 / 5 (2) Sep 30, 2013
such as?

AFAIK the particle colliders in Japan, US and EU have greatly contributed to science and with it, humanity as a whole. Besides, money is overrated, the knowledge gained will serve us for eternity.
LarryD
3 / 5 (2) Sep 30, 2013
such as?

AFAIK the particle colliders in Japan, US and EU have greatly contributed to science and with it, humanity as a whole. Besides, money is overrated, the knowledge gained will serve us for eternity.

Well, climate change for a start, that is, if one believes it is happening at all! If it is, then that could mean a very early demise.
Then there is the problem of chuncks flying by us...need a better early warning systen and possibly some kind of defense(?).
Money may be overrated but you can't do much without it and that's the real sad part...our society is built on it.
I like to see progress is science but it's not going to help the starving millions where many of them will not last the week....let alone '...enternity.'
The universe has many mysteries to challange the scientists but their biggest challange is justifying their research.
johanfprins
1 / 5 (6) Sep 30, 2013
such as.


1. Room temperature superconduction

2. Dependable energy generation by not burning wood, oil, coal etc.

3. AND most important of all: To restructure physics on reality: Not on the Voodoo Copenhagen interpretationm according to which "probability" is built into the basic laws of physics: We must get away from stupid concepts like the creation of zillions of multiverses everytime a "measurement" is made.

4. Modern physics is based on insane ideas which lead to the belief that there are actually "particles" existing, like the Higgs boson.
vlaaing peerd
4 / 5 (3) Oct 01, 2013
1. and 2. seem very acceptable, yet there is already a lot of research involved on these 2 subjects.

About 3. and 4. though, what is your alternative idea for the uncertainty principle and the origin of mass? For example, I find it a valid question to search for the origin of mass, theorize a possible and likely description from within the frames of what we already know and put it to the test. I fail to see the insanity in it.

Or is your whole point that the particle colliders simply cost too much money for the results we get from it?

@LarryD

I have little interest in going off topic to climate debates, it has simply nothing to do with this article. Also the millions of starving people is not "science" its responsibility but of humanity as a whole. For the same reasons I could ask why you put your money in a PC, while someone else on the planet needs food, you could have made your own contributions to that and there is no need to point your finger to the science community.

VendicarE
1 / 5 (2) Oct 01, 2013
"The LHC at CERN is already the largest Cicus Show ever produced on Planet Earth.' - JohanfTard

Tardieboy thinks that physicists need to find some breakthough science in the field of pullies and levers.

How is man going to reach the moon unless he has a lever that long enough and a pivot that is strong enough?

These are the unanswered questions that are keeping manking from all manner of scientific advancement in the minds of the Tardie.

VendicarE
1.7 / 5 (3) Oct 01, 2013
"Modern physics is based on insane ideas which lead to the belief that there are actually "particles" existing, like the Higgs boson." - JohanftTardlie

And yet Mr. Bozon and his cousins seem to explain the universe quite precisely.

How sad that you have a problem with that.
johanfprins
1 / 5 (2) Oct 01, 2013
I find it a valid question to search for the origin of mass,


Excellent response: But we do not have to search for it since the origin of mass has already been known since Einstein published E=m*c^2.

It is nothing else than the distributed electromagnetic energy within an EM-wave. When you have a light wave within a volume V, the density of the EM energy is proportional to rho=(1/2)*(epsllon*E^2+mu*H^2). When you integrate rho over the volume V of the light wave, the total energy is m*c^2: Obviously this is only dynamic mass for a light-wave: But, nevertheless, it means that a light wave has a centre-of-mass. If it is a spherical light wave expanding from a point-like source, the centre of mass is pinned at the source.

If it is a laser pulse, the centre-of-mass moves with speed c and the pulse thus has a
momentum p=mc. There is no uncertainty in the position of such a freely moving light-wave. It follows a definite path since it has a definite center-of-mass. (see below)
johanfprins
1 / 5 (2) Oct 01, 2013
Just as a spherical light-wave from a point source has a pinned centre-of-mass (COM) an electron wave has the same within the inertial reference frame in which it is stationary. If there is not such an inertial refrence frame, Galileo's inertia is invalid as well as Newton's first law. If the latter two laws are invalid, ALL of physics is invalid. To be stationary within its own inertial refrence frame, the COM (position) and momentum (p=0) must be simultaneously known WITHOUT any uncertainty. Therefore if one accepts that there is an uncertainty in the position and mass of a solitary free electron, one is rejecting the fundamental foundations (Galileo and Newton) on which all physics is based.

My model is that an electron is, like a spherical wave moving from a point source, also an EM wave with a pinned COM, except that in this case it is a stationary wave since it is contained within a volume by boundary conditions. The boundary condition is the field of gravity.......

johanfprins
1 / 5 (2) Oct 01, 2013
around the electron mass, which is the stationary EM field within the boundary of the electron.

When one moves past such a stationary electron, the electron is moving relative to you. If you now transform the diameter of the mass of the electron into your reference frame using the Lorentz transformation, the electron becomes longer (yes! NOT shorter as Einstein incorrectly deduced) and within this length a phase-time difference exists. By using this phase time to derive the corresponding wave-lenght of the moving electron, one obtains the de Broglie wave-length. YES! Quantum-Wave Mechanics follows directly from Maxwell's equations.

When an electron circles a proton it also gets circularly longer as its speed increases. This incomplete circular length of the electron has a COM. When the electron-length matches the cicular path, one reaches the de Broglie condition which defines Bohr's quantization rule. At this point, the COM cannot be on the periphery anymore and has to jump...
johanfprins
1 / 5 (2) Oct 01, 2013
to the centre of the circular path. The centre-of-mass is now pinned, so that the kinetic energy of the circular motion must become stationary EM energy and one thus obtains a Schroedinger wave. The latter thus also follows directly from Maxwell's equations.

The explanation of mass is thus simple! It does not require a Higgs boson.

Or is your whole point that the particle colliders simply cost too much money for the results we get from it?
Yes, since the results are interpreted in terms of Voodoo physics which requires renormalisation. QFT is not required since every aspect can be simply explained in terms of Maxwell's electromagnetic equations as interpreted by Einstein: i.e. that light speed is the same in all inertial reference frames, and electromagnetic energy E is mass owing to E=m*c^2.

I can further expand on this but will stop at this point.

BTW: There is no electric field energy around a solitary electron.

LarryD
not rated yet Oct 01, 2013
vlaaing peerd...just responding to your 'such as?' comment which itself implies going '...off topic...' as you put it. Get real man, Survival (control) is the responsibility of all topics and people and without it's involvement there would be no science at all...Enola Gay/Little Boy, and don't tell that wasn't science. Besides this article is not reseach it's about taking THAT research to a wider audience.