Antimatter & Destruction: Particle Physics Plays Central Role in Angels & Demons


Nobel laureate Leon Lederman, who wrote The God Particle about a postulated energy-to-matter transition state known as the Higgs boson field, believes fictional movies can portray science in a way that formal education doesn’t. “We don’t have enough of the kind of good movies that illustrate the beauty of science, the joy of science, the fun of science. That’s something we’re missing in our educational system,” he said in the NSF briefing. “I would like to see more movies where the heroine rides off on her horse after solving some great physics problem.”

The term “God particle” figures prominently in both Brown’s book and the movie, and Lederman says it may explain what happened to the missing antimatter.

Actor Hanks thinks great things can come from a film that features a place like CERN even if the science is not spot on. "I guarantee that after seeing the movie some kids are going to go into their physics or their science class and ask: is this anything like the particle accelerator in Angels & Demons? And the teachers are going to roll their eyes and say 'yes, in fact it's very much like the particle accelerator in Angels & Demons...'."

U.S. participation in the LHC is supported by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy.

—By Leslie Fink/NSF

Useful links:

  • Scheduled lectures
  • The science behind the story
  • U.S. LHC users Web site
  • The ATLAS experiment
  • Virtual tour of ATLAS
  • The Particle Adventure
  • Angels & Demons official Web site