Cern, The Divine Comedy and All That

The links between Dante's The Divine Comedy and the Large Hadron Collider at CERN are deeper than one might imagine.

James Burge | Published in 30 Apr 2012

Domenico di Michelino, La Divina Commedia di Dante (Dante and the Divine Comedy). Fresco in the nave of the Duomo of Florence, Italy.Having just gone through a sharp career change from writing a biography of Dante to preparing a television documentary about the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, I have found myself searching for a connection between these two apparently widely disparate projects. The fact that I have managed to find one highlights a thread which runs through the history of ideas.

The connection lies in the desire to find an overall principle which explains the complexity of the universe. This, as I expect you know, is the stated aim of the scientists at CERN: they want to find the equation which underlies all events in the universe. That is their principal goal and finding the pesky, elusive Higgs boson will serve only to confirm that they are on the right track, probably.

To continue reading this article you will need to purchase access to the online archive.

Buy Online Access  Buy Print & Archive Subscription

If you have already purchased access, or are a print & archive subscriber, please ensure you are logged in.

Please email if you have any problems.