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Celebrating 200 years with 3 screenings of ‘Particle Fever’

The Swiss Academy of Sciences is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year. On this occasion we will screen the movie ‘Particle Fever’, that describes the discovery of the Higgs-Boson at CERN. The screening will take place in three Swiss cities in August and September. The Higgs-Boson is one of the most spectacular finds in the field of natural sciences in recent years.

Scene from the movie 'Particle Fever': Fabiola Gianotti (at the time speaker of the ATLAS experiment at CERN) in a discussion with a colleague.

The composition of matter still leaves many open questions to scientists, even though physicists have gained many insights into elementary particles and the forces that work between them. The thus established model of modern theoretical physics has been confirmed in uncountable experiments. It implies that the world is made up of 25 fundamental particles that are governed by four fundamental forces. This so called ‘Standard Model’ was established in the 1970s and is valid even today. It successfully explains all physical phenomena that were ever measured, except gravity, and is therefore perhaps the biggest intellectual contribution to the understanding of the world.

The Standard Model last got confirmed in a spectacular way on July 4th 2012. On that day physicists at the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN) in Meyrin, close to Geneva, announced the discovery of the Higgs-Boson. Scientists working with the Large Particle Accelerator LHC at CERN had proven, through experiments, the existence of the last elementary particle of the Standard Model and thereby confirmed the theory in an impressive way. The discovery marked the end of a decade long search. The Higgs-Boson had already been predicted in 1964 by a handful of British, Belgian and American physicists – among them Peter Higgs.

Current Questions of the LHC-Physicists

In the movie ‘Particle Fever” the U.S. physicist and director Marc Levinson recounts how the Higgs-Boson was discovered at CERN. For more than twenty years physicists, technicians and computer scientists had constructed this ingenious experiment. It consists of an enormous particle accelerator, the ‘Large Hadron Collider’ (LHC) as well as two detectors that interpret the particle collisions (ATLAS-Experiment, CMS-Experiment). With the help of these constructions, scientists were finally able to confirm the extremely volatile Higgs-Boson in the summer of 2012.

The movie takes its audience one step further by raising questions that reach beyond the Standard Model. Those are the questions that CERN physicists will try to answer with their ongoing research. The conditions are promising. After a revision, the LCH will be restarted in the spring of 2015. During this second run (‘Run II) physicists will apply an even higher level of energy. Through this work, the scientists hope to gain new insights that could help confirm experimentally theoretical models like that of Supersymmetry.

'Particle Fever' in Luzern, Aarau und Sitten

On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the Swiss Academy of Sciences we will screen the documentary ‘Particle Fever’ in Open Air movie theatres in Lucerne and Aarau, followed by a screening in Valais.


Sunday, August 9 2015, 9.15 pm, Open Air Cinema Lucerne (the cinema is located on the lake next to the Auditorium Alpenquai). Bus 6,7 and 8, Stop ‘Eisfeldstrasse’.

‘Particle Fever’ will be shown in the German voice-over-version. Introduction by CERN physicist Hans Peter Beck (University of Bern).


Sunday, August 23rd 2015, 9 pm at the Open Air Cinema Aarau (located close to the racecourse Schachen Aarau)

‘Particle Fever’ will be shown in the German voice-over-version. Introduction by CERN physicist Lea Caminada (University of Zürich)


Friday, September 25th 2015, Auditorium of the Lycée-Collège des Creusets, St-Guérin 34, Sitten (10 min walk from the station)

'Particle Fever' will be screened in the French version. The screening will be followed by a discussion between theologist Jean-Blaise Fellay (Jesuit, publicist/ Fribourg) , physicist Olivier Schneider (Professor for particle physics at the ETH Lausanne) and Philosopher Michel Siggen (Sitten). Moderator: Elisabeth Chardon ('Le Temps')

There will be a limited number of free tickets available for the screenings in Lucerne and Arrau (cp. information in the column to the right). The admission to the screening in Sitten is free, everyone interested is welcomed.


  • Elementary particles
  • Particle Physics