DCSC Scientific Illustration
Picture: Higgs boson simulation, Cern (Mette Høst)
The Particle Physicists work with the build up of matter in the early universe. They are searching for an explanation as to what the universe's smallest components were composed of in the first milliseconds after the Big Bang 14 billion years ago and what forces held them together.
These experimental research groups work with what is called "High Energy Physics" and the term should be taken very literally. Their experiments take place at CERN, the European Laboratory for atom research in Geneva Switzerland, where a 27km long underground atom accelerator operates at the colossally high temperatures such as existed in the seconds just after the big bang.
These high energies are necessary to break up the nucleus' elements into matter's tiniest components such as quarks, gluons, leptons etc. The Danish high energy physics group collaborates with several international research projects.
Theoretical Particle Physics occupies itself with models which describe the atoms smallest undividable components called elementary particles and the forces which bind them together. They are theoretically described in the Standard Physical Model, but the model does not describe everything e.g. but it does not explain gravity and so the theorists are working on more comprehensive theories which can describe the forces of nature in one united theory.
By studying the basic physical forces and the smallest components in the atom's nucleus, the research in Particle Physics is closely connected with both Cosmology and Astrophysics.