Quantum Universe Web Site Launched
New site describes revolution in 21st-century particle physics
Washington, D.C.—Members of the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel to the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation, meeting in Washington, D.C. today (September 24), announced the launch of the Quantum Universe Web site. Along with HEPAP’s recently published Quantum Universe report, the new site describes the quest to explain the universe in terms of quantum physics, which governs the behavior of the microscopic, subatomic world.
In response to a charge from DOE’s Office of Science and NSF to provide “a clear picture of the connected, complementary experimental approaches to the truly exciting scientific questions of our time,” the Web site presents nine fundamental questions about the universe. Answering them, say the Web site and the report, will lead to “a revolution in particle physics and a quantum leap in our understanding of the mystery and beauty of the universe.”While the science of particle physics has successfully characterized the fundamental nature of the matter that we see around us, recent discoveries in astrophysics and cosmology have revealed that only five percent of the universe is made of normal, visible matter. Ninety-five percent of the universe consists of dark matter and dark energy, whose nature is unknown. Quantum Universe describes the connection between the exploration of the ultimate particles and forces and the quest to understand the mysterious “new” universe. The new Web site singles out nine central questions and describes how current and future experiments will address those questions using particle accelerators, underground laboratories and space-based missions.
The HEPAP committee that produced the Quantum Universe report was chaired by particle physicist Persis Drell, director of research at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center in Menlo Park, Calif. Underscoring the importance of making the science accessible, the 17-member committee included two science communicators – Neil Calder of SLAC and Judy Jackson of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill.
The document featured an unusual graphical concept designed to emphasize the human aspect of a sometimes intimidating science – and the spectacular technology it involves. That concept was faithfully translated into a Web layout. The web version also incorporates links and video clips featuring experts discussing each of the fundamental questions of particle physics.
Fermilab and SLAC are Department of Energy Office of Science national laboratories. Fermilab is operated by Universities Research Association, Inc. SLAC is operated by Stanford University.