Introduction to the film
Secrets of the Universe is a sweeping, 3D Giant-Screen adventure that immerses audiences in the greatest mysteries of our time – puzzles spanning from the infinitesimal to the infinite – and introduces the brilliant minds seeking to unravel them.
Those answers await at the collision points of intellect and imagination, of theory and experiment, of the tiniest particles and most powerful forces in the universe.
Travel with scientist Manuel Calderon de la Barca Sanchez as he journeys to the largest machine ever built, the greatest scientific instrument ever created, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
There, he joins a global team working to uncover another amazing breakthrough in this new world of technology-driven physics. We get an inside look at the machine and come to understand just what it means to do science, teaming up for the flag of humanity to solve the universe’s greatest mysteries.
We don’t stop with the Large Hadron Collider, though. The machines we’ve built are as diverse as the secrets we’re looking for, and the people looking for them. We travel to the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Observatory (LIGO), the amazing project that recently confirmed Einstein’s century old prediction of the existence of gravitational waves.
Humanity is at the edge of unprecedented scientific discovery, and we can all be a part of it!
Director Stephen Low is one of the most experienced filmmakers in the large format medium and brings to his work a unique storytelling vision that continues to win audiences and awards around the world.
Topics and Themes explored in Secrets of the Universe
A Scientist’s Journey
Meet the people behind the discoveries and the passions that drive them. Take a journey with the scientists who are working to understand the secrets of our universe.
Looking Inward: Looking at the Universe Within at the LHC
- Historical Context: The Microscope
- The LHC, a Physicist’s Dream
- The Collaboration
Looking Out: LIGO and Telescopes Looking at the Universe in the Cosmos
- The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory
- Historical Context: The Telescope
- Hubble Space Telescope
- Global Collaboration
- What Does It Mean to Be a Scientist?
- What Does Science Mean to Us (Implications)
Synergy of scientific research and technological advancement
Answers to the big questions come at the collision points of intellect, imagination, and technology.
A greater understanding of the Universe elevates our quality of life
Not (solely) for old, white males. Diversity for the sake of both the underrepresented and the greater good.
Global collaboration yields amazing results
Bridging the divide between scientists, government, corporations, and the general public
Meet the explorers
Manuel Calderon de la Barca Sanchez
Born in Mexico City, Professor Manuel Calderon de la Barca Sanchez is the son of a tenacious father who believed in the value of education and a mother who always encouraged him “to spread his wings and follow his dreams.” As a child, Manuel wanted to be a firefighter and loved video games and computers but soon grew to love math, especially as it related to physics. At a certain point, he says he realized that, “the math was not just leading you to solve a clever puzzle, but it was telling you something about how things in nature behaved, how nature worked.” Today, Manuel is a professor and researcher with the UC Davis Physics department where he is seeking to understand the Universe through a field called Quantum Chromodynamics (don’t let the big scientific name scare you—this is pretty cool stuff). Manuel’s team smashes the nuclei of two atoms into one another at super high energies (trillions of electronvolts each), forming tiny fireballs that act as recreations of the Universe right after the Big Bang. Protons and electrons are huge compared to what they’re looking at...quarks and gluons in the plasma “fireballs” are fundamental building blocks of all matter and crucial to figuring out their impact on the Standard Model of Physics. With a more powerful machine than ever before, and teams like Manuel’s on the case, what great discovery awaits!? When he's not seeking answers to the secrets of the Universe, Manuel loves snowboarding.
Béatrice Bonga is a postdoctoral researcher at Perimeter Institute. She studies general relativity and cosmology, with a specific focus on gravitational wave theory and early universe cosmology. She completed her PhD in 2017 at Penn State University under the guidance of renowned quantum gravity theorist Professor Abhay Ashtekar. Originally from the Netherlands, she began her scientific studies in Psychology and Physics at Utrecht University. After completing her bachelors degrees, she continued studying theoretical Physics as this is her true passion. She also loves to dance, from ballroom to zumba, and is an avid traveler.
Born and brought up in Dhaka, Bangladesh, I moved to San Antonio, Texas, for college at age seventeen. At the time I wasn't convinced I wanted to major in physics. In high school, I had a wonderful physics teacher who liked to teach through demonstration and storytelling. Thanks to role models such as him and my father, who also loves to explain things simply and enthusiastically, I loved learning physics and excelled at it in school. Although through the years it became increasingly clear to me that I wanted to pursue a PhD in physics, when I started graduate school in Davis, California, I had yet to figure out what field of physics to specialize in. But when I met the nuclear physics group led by Manuel, I made the decision instantly. Our group has diverse individuals with varied interests, who are eager to help and support each other - especially if it is through organizing a barbecue to celebrate milestones in our journeys. I enjoy travelling, being outdoors, problem solving and spending time with close friends and family. Being in northern California, I take the opportunity to enjoy its natural beauty extensively. While stationed in Geneva, I explored the neighboring area with my friends from CERN. As with physics, I like to absorb my surroundings by framing what I observe into narratives.
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