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Media Advisory 09-015

The Science Behind "Angels and Demons" Is No Laughing Antimatter

Particle physicists to brief media and public on real science at CERN; May 19, 1 p.m. EDT

Publicity poster for Angels and Demons, a Ron Howard film, starring Tom Hanks.

Publicity poster for "Angels and Demons," a Ron Howard film, starring Tom Hanks.

May 13, 2009

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

On May 15, 2009, Sony Pictures will release "Angels and Demons," and bring the world's largest particle physics laboratory to the silver screen.

Based on Dan Brown's best-selling novel, this major motion picture, starring Tom Hanks and directed by Ron Howard, focuses on a plot to destroy the Vatican using a small amount of antimatter. That antimatter is made using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and is stolen from the European particle physics laboratory CERN. Parts of the movie were filmed at CERN.

Embracing this opportunity to discuss the real science of antimatter, the LHC and particle physics research, on May 19, 2009, the National Science Foundation (NSF) will host a live media briefing spotlighting three world-renowed physicists.

What:Live Video Teleconference
When:Tuesday, May 19, 2009, 1 p.m. EDT (12 noon CDT; 7 p.m. CEST)
Featuring:Rolf-Dieter Heuer, director-general, CERN; former research director for particle and astroparticle physics, Germany's DESY Laboratory
Leon Lederman, Pritzker Professor of Science, Illinois Institute of Technology; resident scholar, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy; director emeritus, Fermilab; Nobel, Physics (1988); and author, "The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question?"
Boris Kayser, distinguished scientist, Fermilab; chair, American Physical Society's Division on Particle Physics; former program director, NSF Theoretical Physics
How:To watch and ask questions during the webcast, visit
To Participate:Send an e-mail to to obtain the call-in number and passcode (journalists only).
For all others, you may watch the webcast and submit questions anytime to

This NSF live teleconference briefing is part of a larger effort in which, worldwide, scientists working on experiments at the LHC will host lectures and other "Angels & Demons"-related events for members of the press and the public. More than 45 lectures are taking place across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico as part of the series "Angels and Demons: The Science Revealed". Events are also planned in particle physics institutions across Europe, Asia, Central and South America. For more information on the LHC, visit CERN's Web site.

* U.S. participation in the Large Hadron Collider project is supported by the Department of Energy's Office of Science and the National Science Foundation.

* CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is the world's leading laboratory for particle physics. It has its headquarters in Geneva. At present, its Member States are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. India, Israel, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Turkey, the European Commission and UNESCO have Observer status.


Media Contacts
Lisa-Joy Zgorski, NSF, (703) 292-8311, email:
Elizabeth Clements, Fermilab, (630) 840-2326, email:
Katie Yurkewicz, US LHC Communications, +41 76 487 0004, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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