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Is particle physics as sexy as Tom Hanks makes it seem?

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HOW accurate is the science in the new movie Angels & Demons?

A free public lecture at the Manitoba Museum, today from 2 to 3 p.m., will address that question.

Similar talks are taking place in seven other Canadian cities and across the United States. It's all aimed at separating fact from fiction in the movie, which is based on the bestseller by Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code.

"It's not often that physics takes centre stage in a Hollywood movie," Scott Young, manager of science communications at the Manitoba Museum, said in a news release.

"It's a great opportunity to address whether or not this antimatter stuff is real. Should people worry about it? How much of Angels & Demons is just movie magic and how much is the truth?"

Starring Tom Hanks and directed by Ron Howard, Angels & Demons focuses on an apparent plot to destroy the Vatican using antimatter made at the Large Hadron Collider and stolen from the European particle physics laboratory CERN.

Scientists are using this opportunity to explain the real science of antimatter, the Large Hadron Collider and particle physics research.

"It's a great way to highlight the really cool science behind the movie," Young said. "This (lecture) program also encourages people to think critically about what they're presented in the mass media, and not just believe everything they see."

Previous Manitoba Museum programs of this type have looked at the movies Outbreak, Armageddon and The Day After Tomorrow.

More information about the Angels & Demons lectures is available at http://www.uslhc.us/Angels_Demons.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 23, 2009 C2

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