Particle physics probes the basic building blocks of matter and their interactions, which determine the structure and properties of the extreme diversity of matter in the universe. The web portal makes the fascinating research understandable to an interested public.more

Image: ESO, R. Fosburymore

The state-of-the-art knowledge

The so-called standard model is the currently valid explanation for all the known phenomena of the microscopic world. The standard model describes in particular the matter particles and the forces acting between them (apart from gravity). Physicists have essentially developed the standard model between 1961 and 1973 and formulated it in the language of mathematics. The Higgs was the last particle of the standard model that was not yet detected experimentally. The standard model explains much, from the Big Bang to the iPhone. Yet, many questions remain unanswered. What is the gravitational force? What is dark matter, what is dark energy? In order to answer these questions, physicists work on new models that should extend the successful standard model, among which supersymmetry and string theory.

Physicists hope that the hunt for the Higgs particle will not only confirm the current knowledge, but also bring new insights. Physicist Günther Dissertori: "This would be for many physicists even more interesting. Then one should think about what other mechanisms could be responsible for giving a mass to the elementary particles."