Frontiers of Particle Physics

Frontiers of Particle Physics

Three frontiers: energy, intensity and cosmic

At Fermilab, a robust scientific program pushes forward on three interrelated frontiers. The Venn diagrams below illustrate the interlocking framework of those frontiers. Each frontier has a unique approach to making discoveries, and all three are essential to answering key questions about the laws of nature and the cosmos. Some questions can only be addressed by experiments at one frontier, but others require investigation on multiple fronts to create a complete picture.

Energy Frontier icon-energy

Energy Frontier

At the Energy Frontier, scientists build advanced particle accelerators to explore the fundamental constituents and architecture of the universe. There they expect to encounter new phenomena not seen since the immediate aftermath of the big bang. Subatomic collisions at the energy frontier will produce particles that signal these new phenomena, from the origin of mass to the existence of extra dimensions.

Intensity Frontier icon-intensity

Intensity Frontier

At the Intensity Frontier, scientists use accelerators to create intense beams of trillions of particles for neutrino experiments and measurements of ultra-rare processes in nature. Measurements of the mass and other properties of the neutrinos are key to the understanding of new physics beyond today’s models and have critical implications for the evolution of the universe. Precise observations of rare processes provide a way to explore high energies, providing an alternate, powerful window to the nature of fundamental interactions.

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Cosmic Frontier

At the Cosmic Frontier, astrophysicists use the cosmos as a laboratory to investigate the fundamental laws of physics from a perspective that complements experiments at particle accelerators. Thus far, astrophysical observations, including the bending of light known as gravitational lensing and the properties of supernovae, reveal a universe consisting mostly of dark matter and dark energy. A combination of underground experiments and telescopes, both ground- and space-based, will explore these mysterious dark phenomena that constitute 95 percent of the universe.

These scientific frontiers form an interlocking framework that addresses fundamental questions about the laws of nature and the cosmos.

Experiments and Programs at Fermilab

Last modified: 04/29/2009 |