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What do they think at CERN?

Far too much antimatter — and her hair looks too thick and shiny to be believable

By Hamish Johnston

No, not about the Austrian pull-out — Angels and Demons of course.

The BBC sent a reporter to Geneva for a special screening last night of the film Angels and Demons for CERN physicists.

The film — based on a book by Dan Brown — involves a plot to destroy the Vatican using anti-matter produced at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider.

The LHC does produce antimatter, but one CERN physicist told the BBC it would take ten times the age of the universe to accumulate enough antimatter to do the dastardly deed.

The Vatican is of course in the Eternal City, so perhaps the plotters have time on their side.

What did the physicists think of the rest of the film? You can listen to their comments here

By the way, 13,381 folks have signed the online petition to keep Austria at CERN.

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  1. I’m glad to see the comments aren’t too negative – we scientists sometimes overlook the importance of artistic license in creative works.
    However, it seems to me that a lot of scientists worldwide are missing the point – the central theme of the film (and book) is not the idea of an antimatter bomb, but the relationship between science and religion – an interesting theme for a blockbuster. Hence I think lectures planned to accompany the film (see blog) should tackle this subject..

  2. Ender

    The problem is that such “licences” only help to spread ignorance among the general public. Brown is entertaining and I would add that he even drops some interesting facts here and there. Sometimes you can even call him thought provoking. Yet he makes such huge blunders that the final result is mediocre (Diving into the Tevere from a helicopter hudreds of meters high, and ending unharmed?? Come on!!). Good read for a rainy Sunday afrenoon, though, as I wrote elesewhere.

  3. pjrowe

    What bothers me the most is that the book sold so well and that people find this sort of material ‘good reading’
    But from the viewpoint of an educator, if it helps literacy…!!

  4. Re “The problem is that such “licences” only help to spread ignorance among the general public”,if the film causes people to inquire more about the topic, then it spreads knowledge, not ignorance. This is of course the great debate concerning science in the media – spreading misinformatio vs raising awareness..

  5. Ender

    I understand your point, although I’m not quite convinced. I think public awareness of scince should come out of better sources than sensationalistic movies, although I understand that these kind of movies are meant to entertain rather than to educate. By the way, did you know that, while Spiderman II brought fusion energy to public awareness, its budget was greaterr than the American fusion programme?


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