By now, I hope you’ve heard about Particle Fever. It premiered a few weeks ago – if I remember correctly, the same week as Neil deGrasse Tyson’s new Cosmos premiered. What a great week for science in the mass media.
While it hasn’t gotten quite as much attention as Cosmos, it deserves to! It’s a documentary about particle physics, a feature film, playing now in about 30 cities, and coming soon to more. I already saw it and loved it. This is science filmmaking at its best.
It follows some of the construction of the Large Hadron Collider, leading up to its being turned on. But it’s a human story, focusing on six scientists – theorists and experimentalists – and it does an impressive job of capturing the excitement, the passion, and the mystery of science. Offhand, I can’t think of a hard science documentary that is more dramatic and moving – and its success is due in no small part to its having been edited by Walter Murch, the Academy Award-winning editor and sound designer whose credits include Apocalypse Now, The Conversation, and The English Patient.