How can you see the Universe in the moments after it came into being? What was its temperature? What was it made of? How fast did it expand and how did it change over time? These questions are the focus of the new IMAX movie Secrets of the Universe 3D which, to this observer, is one of the most exciting IMAX features in the last 20 years. Secrets of the Universe is a winner and it’s for the entire family.
The movie centers on the work of a diverse group of senior scientists and their graduate students who have assembled from all over the world to conduct experiments using the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, Switzerland. Located 100 meters underground, it’s the most powerful particle accelerator in the world and it uses a series of electromagnets to accelerate charged particles to near light speed. Sending beams of particles in opposite directions, the collisions that result produce a mind-boggling array of “explosive” interactions that the film captures brilliantly with some of the most exciting graphics ever created for the giant screen. The images of the Large Hadron Collider itself, a truly monstrous machine of enormous complexity, surpass anything that I’ve seen in the most advanced sci-fi movie. This machine, at heart a delicate and extraordinarily precise scientific instrument, is dauting in size and the IMAX medium captures it like nothing else possibly could.
But this superb movie doesn’t limit its scope to the research at CERN in Switzerland. It includes a series of sidebar narratives that show seminal moments in scientific discovery across a number of fields—all of which aim to extend our human senses so that we can experience and understand that which we cannot see with our unaided eyes. From the work of Charles Darwin and his Earth-shaking pronouncement of the theory of evolution of species to Leeuwenhoek’s 17th Century discovery of microbial organisms within a drop of otherwise “clear” water, this movie takes us on an inspiring journey of discovery. How can we possibly know what we know and what does it really take to crack the secrets of the universe.
Don’t miss this exciting and important 3D movie now playing in IMAX with Laser.
Kenneth E. Phillips, Ph.D., Curator for Aerospace Science
California Science Center