CERN Operatic Dancers and Dark Matter [Video]


This year Earth’s largest machine, CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC), will be reactivated in its search for Dark Matter, as is being depicted in a multi-media film by operatic dancers. The LHC has not been used since 2013, but two new projects are set to take place this coming year that will build upon previous experiments conducted at the CERN facility in Sweden.

Many have obsessed over the potential outcomes of scientific studies performed within the LHC, which is the world’s largest particle accelerator. In celebration of the device’s reactivation, Ruben van Leer is depicting the obsession over the mysterious powers investigated by those at CERN through cinema. The two main characters are Lukas Timulak, also the film’s choreographer, who also plays a CERN physicist hard at work searching for the world’s smallest particular, and Claron McFadden, a soprano who asks him if he loves the particle as much as himself and whether he would become one with the particle if he could.


The key to this film, and the essence of the research at CERN, to many, is symmetry and this is why the two go so well together. As Lukas continues to search for his particle, he is carried through time this eventually draws his attention to the timelessness of love and music. The film, a segment of which is available below, is timely in raising awareness of these potentially significant experiments that will occur this year. Leer, the director, explains that he does not want to take away from the scientific work being done at CERN, but through his reflection of CERN operatic dancers in search of dark matter he wants to reflect the “complex material this institute is presenting.” The film will be shown at the Cinedans film festival in Amsterdam on March 14, 2015.

CERN’s actual research, that will come to fruition this year, is much anticipated. In mid-March, two beams of particles will be sent racing towards each other in a super-cooled environment. When they collide at CERN they will create a heat that has not been present in the universe since billionths of a second after the big bang. This is a much-anticipated event.

It has been posited by scientists that dark matter composes as much as 84 percent of the mass in the universe and is observed by its pull on light. In 2012, a theoretical particle physicist with Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, Chrisoffer Petersson, presented a new model for observing dark matter based on super-symmetry. This theory, called Higgs boson, suggests that there are “super partners” for each particle, a light particle and a dark particle. Petersson argues that the Higgs boson theory, which explains the attribution of mass to particles, was the missing link that completed the Standard Model.

CERN is making headlines with their operatic dancers and their unrelenting search for dark matter. This topic has captivated the public imagination since it was popularized in Dan Brown’s book and then movie by the same name, Angels and Demons. In a about a week’s time CERN will conduct another much anticipated experiment that could change the way the physics of the universe are viewed once again. It should be a good show.

By Joel Wickwire
International Business Times (IBT)
Photo by Demis Gallisto – Flickr License
Photo by Mark Hillary – Flickr License

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