Arts Society & Culture

Film screening to look at science experiments at particle collider

Athens, Ga. – Several University of Georgia units and the Clarke County School District will host public screenings of the award-winning documentary, “Particle Fever” on Nov. 5-6.

There will be three screenings of “Particle Fever,” a film that looks at the Large Hadron Collider, the international research facility that discovered the smallest known particle: a free show Nov. 5 at 4:30 p.m. for Clarke County science teachers, middle and high school students (ID required); Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. for the general public; and Nov 6 at 7 p.m. for UGA students. Tickets for the evening shows are $9.75. Screenings take place at Ciné, 234 W. Hancock Ave.

The film focuses on a team of scientists working on the experiments, as well as the theories of the universe that could be supported-or not supported-by the collider.

Julie Luft, the Athletic Association Professor of Mathematics and Science Education in the College of Education, said the film not only takes a complex topic and presents it in a way that’s easy for non-scientists to understand, but it’s also a timely topic. “Particle Fever” is about the search for the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider, and the scientist who first proposed the theory of the Higgs boson won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics.

“It’s important, and kids need to know what science looks like,” Luft said. “It shows the heartbreak and joy of science.”

The Nov. 5 screenings will be followed by panel discussions featuring top scientists from the UGA community and across the country, including a scientist connected to the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator.

Wes Corley, a science teacher at Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle School, will moderate the discussion following the 4:30 p.m. screening. The panel includes Erin Lipp, a professor of environmental health science at the UGA College of Public Health who specializes in microbial pathology and waterborne pathogens; Ron Walcott, a professor of plant pathology in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences who researches inter-organism interactions; and Craig Wiegert, associate professor of physics at UGA’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences who has experience in dark matter.

Cheryl Hudson, a science teacher at Cedar Shoals High School, will moderate the discussion following the 7 p.m. screening, which also includes Marguerite Brickman, professor of plant biology at Franklin College with a background in genetics; Tina Salguero, assistant professor of chemistry at Franklin College who specializes in nanoscience and inorganic chemistry; and Elliott Cheu, associate dean of science and professor of physics at the University of Arizona.

Cheu works on the ATLAS Experiment, which uses the Large Hadron Collider to discover and photograph the building blocks of nature. One storyline of “Particle Fever” follows scientists working on the ATLAS Experiment.

“This experiment has something like 2,500 physicists working on it, so getting an idea of how the United States scientists contribute on such an international experiment is very interesting to people,” said Cheu. “It’s not this distant, abstract thing. Real people are doing real work on this experiment.”

Tickets may be purchased in advance at https://cine-particle-fever-1105-06.eventbrite.com or calling Ciné at 706-353-3343. For more information on the event, see athenscine.com.

The screening is sponsored by an endowment from the UGA Athletic Association, the Office of STEM Education and the department of physics and astronomy. It is hosted by the College of Education and the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.