Particle  Fever

Buskirk-Chumley Theater Bloomington, IN


Dr. Rick Van Kooten

Executive Dean of Indiana University Bloomington’s College of Arts and Sciences; Associate Professor in Physics

Particle Fever— Decades to discovery and the elusive Higgs boson

After four decades of theoretical physics, the documentary film Particle Fever captured the groundbreaking discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012. Join us as Dr. VanKooten from Indiana University shares his experience working with the experimental and theoretical physicists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and explains how decades of discovery led to the discovery of the elusive Higgs boson.

Buskirk-Chumley Theater Bloomington, IN

Film Synopsis

As the Large Hadron Collider is about to be launched for the first time, physicists are on the cusp of the greatest scientific discovery of all time—or perhaps their greatest failure.

Particle Fever follows six brilliant scientists during the launch of the Large Hadron Collider, marking the start of the biggest and most expensive experiment in the history of the planet, pushing the edge of human innovation. As they seek to unravel the mysteries of the universe, 10,000 scientists from over 100 countries joined forces in pursuit of a single goal: to recreate conditions that existed just moments after the Big Bang and find the Higgs boson, potentially explaining the origin of all matter. But our heroes confront an even bigger challenge: have we reached our limit in understanding why we exist?

About the Speaker

Dr. Rick Van Kooten is the executive dean of Indiana University Bloomington’s College of Arts and Sciences and associate professor in Physics. Before this appointment, he served five years as chair of the Department of Physics and four years as the IU Bloomington vice provost for research, working across the campus as a passionate advocate for scholarly activity. During his tenure, research infrastructure for intelligent systems engineering was established, and funding for humanities research expanded significantly as the campus secured grants from many sources, including the Luce and Mellon foundations and the National Endowment for the Humanities. In other areas, Van Kooten steered two of IU's major 21st-century initiatives, the Emerging Areas of Research and the IUB components of the Grand Challenges initiatives. The Emerging Areas of Research program has led to new centers of excellence in human and machine learning, quantum engineering and science, and sustainable food systems. The Grand Challenges are a five-year, over $200-million research initiative to address Indiana's big issues, such as environmental resilience, precision health, and addressing the addiction crisis.