What's (the) matter? (2014)

This show follows the two main characters, Maike and Lorenzo, on a journey through time and space. In the course of around two hours they visit some of the most important stages in the history of particle physics.

Their journey starts by the Rhine in Bonn, where they meet a caretaker who seems to have been waiting for them. He wants to help them on their mission to understand where mass comes from.

He gives them an old umbrella and once they spin it they are transported to Manchester, England in the year 1911. There Maike and Lorenzo meet Ernest Rutherford and his assistant Hans Geiger. The scientists show them how they discovered the size and structure of an atom.  And they might just have seen how the Geiger got the idea for his Geiger counter.

Once again the caretaker shows up and gives them a new umbrella. This time they end up in Berkeley, California in 1952. Maike and Lorenzo meet professor Lawrence. He and his assistant Jane explain to them how particle accelerators work and why we need them to learn more about particles. During their stay they also learn about all kinds of tiny particles all around us. They even get to hear some anti-matter.

Rutherford and Geiger
Manchester - Rutherford and Geiger explain the structure of an atom. © Physikshow Uni Bonn
Prof Lawrence and Jane
Berkley - Prof. Lawrence and his assistant Jane explain a linear accelerator. © Physikshow Uni Bonn
Prof Wu and Haimo
Hamburg - Prof. Wu and her assistant Haimo explain the structure of a proton. © Physikshow Uni Bonn
Maike and Lorenzo
Geneva - Maike and Lorenzo collide particles. © Physikshow Uni Bonn

The next umbrella takes Maike and Lorenzo back to Germany. They arrive at DESY in Hamburg in the year 1980. There they meet Sau Lan Wu who explains to them how they discovered quarks. With the help of her assistant Haimo she explains what quarks are and how they are hold together by gluons to form protons and neutrons. Before they have to leave Lorenzo gets the chance to ride a relativistic bicycle. There he sees how the world bends if one is moving close to the speed of light.

The last stop on Maike and Lorenzo's journey is in the tunnel of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. They meet two of the scientists working there. The scientists tell them about their experiments and explain the different kinds of fields to them. And finally they learn all about the Higgs boson. At the end they even get to see how a Higgs boson is produced and can be detected by the large machines at the LHC.

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