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Frank Simon | MPI for Physics | Germany

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Angels and Demons

Angels & Demons lecture nights in the US.

Angels & Demons lecture nights in the US, organized by USLHC. Picture credit: USLHC; TM & © 2009 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All rights reserved.

Amidst all the shift craziness, I actually found the time to see Angels & Demons on Friday, the opening day here in the US. There, night shifts actually turned into an advantage: I saw the movie in the early afternoon, before the crowds hit the theaters. I also read the book a couple of years ago, mostly because suddenly my hairdresser was asking me funny questions about my time in Geneva, and was suspecting me of secretly trying to take over the world 😉 .

I actually found both the book and the movie quite enjoyable. Of course, saying that the science is not exactly accurate is a slight understatement. And for somebody without my background in particle physics it will be next to impossible to tell where fact ends and fiction begins. But still, I like the book and the movie, because it raises public awarenes about LHC and particle physics in general, and might actually help to convey the excitement of our research.

As Anadi just wrote, some scenes of the movie were filmed at CERN. I particularly liked the high speed race through the accelerator tunnel when the LHC ramps up (don’t we wish we could ramp it up that fast?), and the shots in the ATLAS cavern with particles flying around. Of course, the antimatter taking a sharp 90 degree turn off the main beam line is nothing but ridiculous, but nicely done nonetheless. And the poor souls sitting in the control room right in the cavern, only separated by a window from the ATLAS detector? I’m glad that’s not me 😉 .

If you are located in the US, there is a public lecture series to explain the real science behind Antimatter and the LHC, setting the facts from the movie straight. You can find schedules and locations at http://www.uslhc.us/Angels_Demons/index.html.

In June, I will give a public talk at the University of Munich, not focused on Angels & Demons or Antimatter, but rather a general talk about particle physics at the Terascale. However, given the buzz the movie is currently creating, I’ll surely slip in a few remarks about that, too.

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