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104 Smoke rings floating across Jim Carter's yard in Enuclaw, illustrate his ideas about the fundamental structure of matter. Photo by Linda Carter.

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“It’s Jim’s World … We Just Live In It”

In 1997, Margaret Wertheim and Cameron Allan began to film the progress of Jim Carter’s physics at the Green River Gorge Resort in rural Washington state. For the next four years they documented Jim as he conducted a series of experiments to make giant smoke rings to test his ideas about the structure of matter and “the foundation of reality.” The resulting film “It’s Jim’s World … We Just Live In It” is an idiosyncratic documentary about an idiosyncratic man and his life-long quest to find “the true theory of the universe.”

Offering an in-depth look at Carter’s life and science, the film includes computer animations Jim has created to demonstrate his ideas about the formation of atomic elements and the creation of the universe. Archival footage of Jim’s life as a gold-miner and his work on the Bellagio Fountains in Las Vegas, combine with dazzling illustrations of his scientific ideas to create a phantasmagorical, real-life symphony of “circlon synchronicity.”
 

See here for a video interview where Margaret discusses the book, with excerps from the film. Interview courtesy ABC Radio National's program The Science Show

Smoke ring sequence from the film "Its Jim's World ... We Just Live In It." Photography and music by Cameron Allan.
 

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