Feature: Exploring CERN - A Reading, Viewing and Listening List

Date posted: 5 Mar 2019Author: STC Production: Mosquitoes

LINAC4, CERN's newest accelerator, 2017. (Photo: Maximilien Brice)

In 1954, in a bid to create a home for high-energy physics research, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (or CERN, an acronym of the original French name "Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire") was formed. The organisation would become the birthplace of many pivotal scientific inventions, including the World Wide Web.

But in 2008, CERN was the target of protest when they fired-up engines in an attempt to discover the so-called “God Particle”, a building block of life known to scientists as the Higgs Boson. A German professor, Otto Rossler, attempted to take CERN to the European Court of Human Rights – claiming CERN’s latest experiment could trigger a mini black hole that would swallow the planet. Although the court threw out his request, the controversy has followed CERN to this day.

The premiere of our latest Lucy Kirkwood play, Mosquitoeshas sparked a fascination with CERN that we’re certain you’ll share. Jacqueline McKenzie returns to our stage as Alice, a physicist working at CERN in search of the Higgs Boson. Each year, the real CERN laboratory hosts over 11,000 scientists – half of the world’s particle physicists.

To give you a better idea of just what makes CERN so mysterious and mammoth (and why Kirkwood chose it as the setting for Mosquitoes) we’ve put together a list of our favourite CERN documentaries, films, books and podcasts.



The Voices at CERN by Franklin Clermont

A science-fiction mystery thriller unearthing the powerful philosophy behind mankind’s attempt to recreate the Big Bang at CERN.

More info

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

The first novel in Dan Brown’s controversial Robert Langdon series leads the symbologist down an ancient trail, following the Illuminati into a secret CERN lab.

More info

Flashforward by Robert J. Sawyer 

During an experiment at CERN, the entire human race loses consciousness for two minutes, seeing themselves twenty-one years and six months in the future.  

More info

The God Particle by Richard Cox

Follow scientists in their search for “The God Particle”, a building block of life also known as the Higgs Boson – a particle that scientists at CERN have long searched for.

More info



CERN (2013)

Deep within the centre, navigate CERN’s impressive infrastructure and meet the people attempting to recreate the big bang.


Particle Fever (2014)

David Kaplan narrates this documentary film that explores the inner workings of the Large Hadron Collider, delving into its first round of explosive experiments.


Symmetry (2015)

A stunning dance-opera film shot inside the austere beauty of CERN.



In Particular

Hear from physicists on the ground and learn about the latest discoveries at the world’s most intriguing laboratory, CERN.

More info


Jacqueline McKenzie (left) plays Alice, a particle physicist at CERN. Pictured here with Mandy McElhinney as her sister Jenny. 


Mosquitoes, 8 Apr – 18 May 2019, Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House.

Seeing the show? Pick up a souvenir play program from the Drama Theatre Box Office for $12, featuring in-depth articles, photographs and info about cast and creatives. You can pre-purchase program vouchers for $11 when booking your tickets. Season Ticket Holders can pre-purchase vouchers for $10 with their Season Ticket.

Let us know your thoughts by tagging @sydneytheatreco and #sydneytheatreco