Potenza   10/5/2005 - 19/5/2005

Biblioteca provinciale e Aula Magna dell’Università della Basilicata - Matera
Aula Magna di Scienze del Campus di Macchia Romana dell’Università della Basilicata - Potenza

The quest for the Higgs

  1. Original Title: The quest for the Higgs
  2. Director: Martijn Veltman
  3. Animation: Vello Virkhaus
  4. Music: Ezra Gould
  5. Producer: Martijn Veltman
  6. Executive Producer: Martijn Veltman
  7. USA
  8. 8 min.
  9. 2002

The particle physics theory called the Standard Model, first developed in the mid Sixties, aims at providing an exhaustive overview of the fundamental interactions and of all the particles that make up matter according to both quantum mechanics and Einstein's special relativity. The Higgs boson, named after the Scottish physicist who first claimed its existence, was probably the most famous specimen in a bona fide zoo of particles that became larger and larger as accelerator theory and technology progressed. However, despite ceaseless efforts by "particle hunters" from all over the world, the Higgs boson has not been observed yet, and has even been nicknamed "God's particle" by Nobel Prize winner Leon Lederman.
Using a simple and elegant language, this documentary introduces the audience to the world of particle physics, with special emphasis on the observation of the Higgs boson. A quick glance to the credits is enough to feel reassured about its scientific and artistic quality: the script is by Martinus Veltman, who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1999 for his work on the quantum structure in the weak electromagnetic interaction, whereas direction is by his son Martjin, a well-known director of TV programs and music videoclips. The documentary opens with a sequence that summarizes the whole history of physics in just a few minutes, from the discovery of fire to the present – definitely not an easy task! It then dives deep into the structure of the universe and shows its basic building block – the quark. The final shots are about neutron decay, an example of how nature can create new particles.

Winner of the Best Use of Computer Generated Imagery Award and of the Best Documentary Award at Canadian International Festival of Cinema and Technology

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