What is matter made of? Not satisfied with the answers found in textbooks, director Michel Andrieu has travelled all over the world in an attempt to go beyond the atom and to unravel the mysteries of particle physics. Driven by his desire to unveil the secrets of such a demanding but fascinating science, he visits significant places and renowned laboratories where scientists from different countries deal with the infinitely small every day. His trip starts with a linear accelerator that can boost the building blocks of matter to almost the speed of light. Then he is off to the Fermilab in Chicago, United States, where the Tevatron is located; here protons and antiprotons collide, releasing enormous amounts of energy and creating exotic and extremely short-lived particles. From the United States to Switzerland: CERN, the European Laboratory of Particle Physics, was set up in Geneva fifty years ago and has now become a symbol of international scientific cooperation. In the future, after the new and very powerful LHC has been completed, CERN will set off on a quest for the Higgs boson, the Holy Grail of contemporary physics. On the opposite side of the world, at the foothills of the Argentinian Andes, physicists from all over the world work together at the Auger observatory to collect information on cosmic radiation, the extraterrestrial particles that ceaselessly hit the Earth. The documentary features some unsettling images of the earliest nuclear explosions, as well as more reassuring footage of the first accelerators and the properties of electrons.
Winner of an award at the Canadian scientific documentary festival Téléscience in 2003.I