Particle Physics

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. It aims at explaining what holds the world together in its most fundamental constituents.

Proton-Proton Collision (LHC, CERN)
Proton-Proton Collision (LHC, CERN)
Proton-Proton Collision (LHC, CERN)

Modern physics relies on an elegant «Standard Model of particle physics», a quantum field theory based on three symmetries and a symmetry breaking. This theory describes and explains magnificently all experimental results obtained so far. With the discovery of the Higgs particle in 2012 at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the last missing piece of the Standard Model has been experimentally confirmed. Experiments at CERN and at other international laboratories now continue to test the validity and limits of the Standard Model in ever widening scope. However, for a comprehensive understanding of the laws of nature a theory beyond the Standard Model is needed, which should include gravitation and explain the presence of dark matter and dark energy in the universe.

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Researcher Dr Alessandro Sfondrini (ETH Zurich) wishes to make the 'holographic principle' understandable to students. Photo: private
  • 06.04.2017
  • news

A Voyage to the Boundaries of Physics

As complicated as particle physics may be, experiments such as those conducted at CERN make it clear how researchers in this discipline work. . However, theoretical physicists, whose work is based on mathematical models, have more difficulty explaining their work. A project from ETH Zurich attempts to provide easy-to-understand insight into a current field of research in theoretical physics.
The pixel detector is pushed into the belly of the CMS experiment. In the middle with a flashlight: Prof. Roland Horisberger, the 'father of the pixel detector'. Photo: M. Brice / CERN
  • 09.03.2017
  • news

Heart surgery at CERN

During the recent service pause of the CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a key component of the CMS experiment was replaced at the beginning of March: the new pixel detector is even more powerful than its predecessor – raising hopes for new insights in elementary particle physics.
In December 2016, over 100 future SESAME users met in Jordan to discuss SESAME's future research program. Photo: Caraban Gonzalez, Noemi
  • 15.02.2017
  • news

Research as a peace project

The laws of particle physics apply regardless of place and time, but the laws can’t be explored or their applications studied equally well in any location. Particularly in poorer countries, cost-intensive research projects face big challenges. Against this background, there is a ray of hope that the first Synchrotron in the Middle East for the production of high-brilliance X-ray radiation, called SESAME, will be launched during summer 2017. Switzerland has contributed to the success of this project.

Swiss physicists in dialog with the society

Swiss physicists want to make their fascinating research understandable to the interested public and to debate its meaning for our society together with representatives of other fields.

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