Last Tuesday I was in Mantova, a pleasant little town in northern Italy, rich of monuments and treasures like the Palazzo Ducale,  which hosts a vast collection of paintings and frescoes from reinassance artists. But I was not there for a private visit; I was in fact invited to comment and provide answers to questions that the audience of a movie, "The Hunt for the Higgs", were invited to ask after seeing it.

The host of the event was the "Cinema del Carbone", a small movie theater near the center of the town. The organizers called me there because they knew me from my previous participation to last years' Festivaletteratura, a literature festival which takes place yearly in September, where authors of books and other media get in touch with their public.

The movie I was called to comment on (which you can see on youtube) is one produced by BBC at the beginning of 2012, shortly before the Higgs boson discovery was finally announced. It is a documentary rich with interviews of the ATLAS scientists who participated in the Higgs hunt as well as explanations of the physicists by three theorists: Frank Wilczec, Michio Kaku, and Jim Gates. Wilczec is a Nobel prize winner and one of the fathers of the Standard Model; Michio Kaku is a theorist and a science communicator, and the author of many well-known books; and Jim Gates is a Supersymmetry expert (see e.g. here for one of his lessons). Although the movie centers on the Higgs hunt, part of the movie is devoted to the LHCb experiment and its searches for the origin of the matter-antimatter asymmetry in the universe.

On Tuesday evening I was overwhelmed by the number of questions I got, and I found most of them interesting and challenging. That is precisely what I was hoping for, and actually expecting - the people attracted to this movie were obviously interested by the subject. But when the movie was shown to four classes of high-school students on the following morning, I was not expecting much interest: the students had been brought to see the movie without having actively chosen it. Instead, they too created a very interesting discussion after the projection of the movie.

Evidently, the Higgs boson continues to raise interest and curiosity in laypersons, more than one year after its discovery. The recent Nobel prize award to Higgs and Englert has certainly helped keeping the boson in the press, too. I do hope that the upgrades of the LHC and the jump up in center-of-mass energy foreseen for 2015 will allow us to create a renewed interest in particle physics, with new discoveries that may belittle the one we just made. But I unfortunately am pessimistic about it... CMS and ATLAS have seen no hints of Supersymmetry or other new physics signals in 20 inverse femtobarns of collisions at 8 TeV; it just looks improbable that more data collected at 13 TeV will materialize something out of the blue. If you do believe so, however, let me know and we can agree on a bet on the matter, to spice things up!