This week, coinciding with the release of the film Angels & Demons, universities across the country are hosting lectures and talks on the science behind one of the movie’s key elements: antimatter.
Piggybacking on the hype surrounding the million-dollar historical mystery, Canadian physicists and professors will be speaking about the plausibility of the film’s scary premise, which is that antimatter, stolen from the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), could be made into a weapon more powerful than a nuclear bomb.
Parts of the movie, which stars Tom Hanks and Ewan McGregor, were actually filmed in the gargantuan Large Hadron Collider at CERN’s European headquarters.
“The premise in Angels & Demons is that antimatter can be used like a bomb,” says Scott Menary, a professor at York University’s physics department who will be giving his talk at the school May 21.
“When antimatter comes into contact with matter it annihilates and is converted into pure energy, which theoretically could be used in a destructive way. That’s probably the most common question that anyone watching the movie will have, and one that this lecture will examine.”
The series is taking place across North America, and was organized by the “international particle physics community” according to the group’s website.