Febrile February: Two Types of Fever

Dear friend of Wonderfest,

“Full disclosure: I cried at a movie about particle physics,” wrote Scientific American’s Clara Moskowitz. Clara is not alone: Particle Fever made me teary-eyed, too. Repeatedly. During both first AND second viewings! I cried over the joy and dedication of a community of ingenious explorers: the scientific community.

Wonderfest and the Commonwealth Club Silicon Valley present a special screening of PARTICLE FEVER on Tuesday, February 10, in Palo Alto. What makes this screening so special is follow-up commentary and Q&A with producer David Kaplan. Dr. Kaplan, physics professor at Johns Hopkins University, is the principal “actor” in Particle Fever.


The movie presents the inside story of six scientists — three of them Wonderfest speakers* — seeking to unravel deep DEEP mysteries of the universe. Their tool, our tool, is the Large Hadron Collider, conducting the biggest and most expensive experiment of all time. 10,000 scientists from over 100 countries join forces to recreate conditions that existed just moments after the Big Bang. Their ultimate goal is to confirm or improve or undermine or overthrow the Standard Model of Particles and Fields: the “parts list” for construction of … everything.


Three evenings after Particle Fever, we will explore another, older fever: the febrile fires of LOVE. On February 13, back in San Francisco, Wonderfest and Ask a Scientist present LOVE AMONG THE NEURONS: A Neuroscience Guide to Valentine’s Day. UCSF psychiatrist and author Thomas Lewis will offer rich insights into romantic fever among living creatures, particularly the human type.

Love Among the Neurons

Frenchman Blaise Pascal famously wrote, “The heart has reasons that reason cannot comprehend.” Perhaps. But in Dr. Lewis’s book A General Theory of Love (Random House, 2000), Lewis and his co-authors offer “An insightful look at the science of human emotions. … A rare example of the fusing of scientific rigor with literature eloquence.” – S.F. Examiner. A General Theory of Love has been translated into Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, and several other languages, … but not into French. Perhaps love is still fundamentally unreasonable in the land of Pascal. 😉

But not in the Bay Area! I hope you will join Wonderfest for these two explorations of fever in early February: Particle Fever on the 10th, and Love Among the Neurons on the 13th.

Wondrous regards,

Tucker Hiatt
Founding Executive Director
* Nima Arkani-Hamed (Wonderfest 1998), Savas Dimopolous (Wonderfest 2002), and David Kaplan (now!).