The intricate tracking chamber of a particle detector at the research center DESY in Germany. <em>Photo: Satoru Yoshioka, Japan</em>
Tools of particle physics
These unique technologies, breathtaking in their scale and complexity, form a single scientific enterprise that spans the globe.

The intricate tracking chamber of a particle detector at the research center DESY in Germany. Photo: Satoru Yoshioka, Japan

What does it take to know?

At laboratories around the world, experiments bring physicists together to address 21st-century questions.

To study nature’s smallest, simplest particles, physicists use the largest, most complex scientific instruments on earth. Accelerators, measured in miles or kilometers, create intense, high-energy particle beams. Detectors the size of cathedrals track particle interactions by the billions and trillions. Vast computing power records, stores and distributes the data from these interactions to thousands of physicists in experiment collaborations that span the globe.

Particle astrophysics uses the cosmos as a laboratory to probe the fundamental laws of physics in ways that complement accelerator-based experiments. The deep and beautiful connection between inner space and outer space enables us to uncover new particle physics through astrophysical observations.

These unique technologies, breathtaking in their scale and complexity, combine their complementary strengths and capabilities to form a single scientific enterprise. The tools of particle physics are beacons that draw scientists together in laboratories around the world in a common search for answers to the defining questions of 21st-century particle physics.