If nothing else, this documentary confirms something you’ve probably always suspected: Really brilliant physicists are almost exactly as nerdy as the average science-fiction geek. A sense of humor and issues of personal style appear to be aligned on the same spectrum in both groups, as is the ability to imagine the future in a new way. Given that reality, director Mark Levinson was probably wise to focus on the personalities working on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), that huge project near Geneva. Their quirkiness allows a human portal into the science behind this massive underground laboratory, which after 20 years of effort went live in 2008 and confirmed important results just last year.
The gist of the project—and I speak with absolutely zero authority on this—is to send protons around a 17-mile ring and smash them into one another at high speed.