MODERATOR: Sean Carroll
PARTICIPANTS: Mark Levinson, Claudia Raschke-Robinson, David Kaplan, Kyle Cranmer, Maria Spiropulu
PROGRAM DATE: Friday, May 30, 2014

Imagine being able to watch as Edison turned on the first light bulb, or as Franklin received his first jolt of electricity. Here’s a film that gives you a front-row seat on one of the most important scientific discoveries of our age: the successful search for the elusive Higgs boson, the final particle to complete the Standard Model of Particle Physics. This inspiring and award-winning documentary follows a handful of the 10,000 scientists who collaborated on the biggest and most expensive scientific experiment in history. After the screening, there will be a live discussion with several of the scientists and filmmakers involved in Particle Fever. This program is supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation as part of its Public Understanding of Science and Technology Initiative. This program is presented in collaboration with The Museum of the Moving Image.

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Theoretical Physicist, Author

Sean Carroll is a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology. His research covers cosmology, field theory, dark energy, particle physics, and gravitation. He is the author of The Particle at the End of the Universe, an explanation of the search for the Higgs boson and the Large Hadron Collider, for which he won the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books in 2013. Carroll also wrote From Eternity to Here, which focuses on the flow of time and the origin of the universe. A regular blogger and public speaker, Carroll has appeared on “The Colbert Report” and “Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman.” He holds a PhD from Harvard and has worked at MIT; the Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara; and the University of Chicago.


Mark Levinson_192
Writer, Producer, Director

Before embarking on his film career, Mark Levinson earned a doctoral degree in particle physics from the University of California at Berkeley. In the film world, he became a specialist in the post-production writing and recording of dialogue known as ADR. He has worked closely with such directors as Anthony Minghella, Francis Coppola, Tom Tykwer, Milos Forman and David Fincher. He is the writer, producer and director of the narrative feature film Prisoner of Time, which examined the lives of former Russian dissident artists after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and had an acclaimed premiere at the Moscow International Film Festival.


Claudia Raschke is an award-winning cinematographer who has worked on feature films and documentaries for more than 20 years. Her most recent feature documentary, Particle Fever, follows the quest for the Higgs Boson and the launch of the Large Hadron Collider. Other works include the Oscar-nominated God Is the Bigger Elvis, indie feature Kiss Me Guido, and the Peabody Award-winning Black Magic. She is known for her ability to bring the rich tones of full-scale motion pictures to a variety of projects including commercials, documentaries, and low-budget works of art.

Physicist, Producer

David Kaplan is a theoretical particle physicist who explores supersymmetry, extra dimensions, dark matter, cosmology, and particles such as the Higgs boson. He is developing new techniques to discover physics beyond the standard model using particle colliders. Kaplan is both the initiator and producer of the award-winning documentary Particle Fever, and has acted as host of science television programs for both the History Channel and the National Geographic Channel. He is a professor of physics at Johns Hopkins University and previously held research positions at the University of Chicago, Argonne National Laboratory, and Stanford University.


Kyle Cranmer is a physicist and a professor at New York University at the Center for Cosmology and Particle Physics and Affiliated Faculty member at NYU’s Center for Data Science. He is an experimental particle physicist working, primarily, on the Large Hadron Collider, based in Geneva, Switzerland. Cranmer popularized a collaborative statistical modeling approach and developed statistical methodology, which was used extensively for the discovery of the Higgs boson at the LHC in July, 2012. Cranmer is active in the discussions of data preservation, open access, reproducibility, and e-science in the context of particle physics. Cranmer performed a search for exotic Higgs decays ten years after the experiment finalized. He serves on the advisory board for INSPIRE, the literature database for high energy physics, and is a member of the Data Preservation in High Energy Physics study group as well as Data and Software Preservation for Open Science.

Cranmer obtained his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his B.A. in Mathematics and Physics from Rice University. He was a Goldhaber Fellow at Brookhaven National Lab from 2005-2007. His awards include the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and the National Science Foundation’s Career Award. Cranmer is also a graduate of the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts.


Maria Spiropulu is a Professor of Physics at Caltech, an experimental physicist, and a noted mentor to both graduate and undergraduate students. She has been researching elementary particles and their interactions for the past 20 years at Fermilab’s Tevatron and at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Spiropulu used, for the first time, the double blind data analysis method in searches for supersymmetry at the Tevatron. She has been pioneering alternative ‘new physics’ search analyses platforms and is inspired by making connections and drawing ideas from other areas of modern science. Her research interests include searches for dark matter in colliders, global analysis of particle/astro-particle observations in exploration of the nature of dark matter, characterization of the recently discovered boson at the LHC, look-alike model separation, multi-model inference methods in particle physics, big data analysis, complex intelligence computational methods, new accelerator technologies, and multiple application detector R&D. In 2009, Spiropulu was named a Fellow of the AAAS “for her leadership in experimental high-energy physics” and in 2014 she was elected vice-chair of the Forum on International Physics of the American Physical Society. She is committed to continue fostering international exchanges in physics as a mechanism to build more knowledge and innovation-based societies globally. She has contributed to intellectual exchange forums such as the Edge ( and has participated in many public outreach science events and documentaries (NASA TV, NOVA, Science Channel’s Wormhole, the History Channel, San Francisco Exploratorium etc). Spiropulu received her PhD in Physics from Harvard University, she was a Fermi Fellow at the Enrico Fermi Institute of the University of Chicago and worked at CERN’s Physics Department as a senior Physics Research Staff.