University of Pittsburgh
April 20, 2009

Pitt, Carnegie Mellon Physicists Join National Lecture Series About the Real Science Behind "Angels and Demons" Film

Multicity series begins in Pittsburgh April 24 and features scientists exploring particle physics and antimatter central to follow up of "The Da Vinci Code"
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-Antimatter will enter the popular lexicon as the weapon of choice in a plot to destroy the Vatican with the May 15 release of "Angels and Demons," the follow-up to the 2006 film "The Da Vinci Code."

To explain the science behind the drama, professors from the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University will join physicists from around the world in a month-long, multicity lecture series, "Angels and Demons Lecture Nights: The Science Revealed." The series begins with an April 24 lecture in Pittsburgh and features scientists discussing the real science of antimatter and the world's largest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) particle physics laboratory in Switzerland where parts of the movie were filmed. The lectures are free to the public.

Joseph Boudreau, Pitt associate professor of physics and astronomy, will open the series at 7:30 p.m. April 24 in Room 343, Alumni Hall, 4227 Fifth Ave., Oakland. Boudreau works on the ATLAS particle detector constructed for the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. He will present a less fictional account of CERN as the world's intellectual center of particle physics, birthplace of the World Wide Web, and the site of the largest and most complex scientific instrument ever built. Boudreau will include a discussion of antimatter, which was discovered experimentally in 1932 and is now produced routinely at particle accelerators around the world. Boudreau specializes in experimental particle physics and works on the Collider Detector at Fermilab (CDF) project, an experimental study of high-energy particle collisions conducted at the U.S. Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab).

Manfred Paulini, an associate professor of physics at Carnegie Mellon, will speak at 6:30 p.m. May 6 in 100 Porter Hall (Gregg Hall), Carnegie Mellon, 5000 Forbes Ave., Oakland. Paulini will discuss the science facts and fiction in "Angels and Demons," the mystery of antimatter, and how future particle physics experiments will explore some of the secrets of the universe. Paulini is an experimental particle physicist and member of the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment at the Large Hadron Collider expected to start in the fall of 2009. He also works on the CDF project at Fermilab.

More information on other lectures in the series is available on the series Web site at

The lecture series is sponsored by CERN, the Large Hadron Collider, Fermilab, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the National Science Foundation.