Discovering the Quantum Universe

In graduate school at the University of Rochester, I decided to study particle physics, because to me it seemed the most exciting field I could imagine, and the most rewarding way to spend my life. But back then I never realized just how exciting it would be. In the past decade, we have understood that the beautiful and orderly universe we thought we knew so well, with its quarks and leptons and fundamental forces, is only a tiny fraction of what's out there. Ninety-five percent of the universe is a complete mystery: dark matter and dark energy. That's paradise for a particle physicist: a universe of unknown particles and forces to discover. I tell my students they are taking part in a revolution, not just in particle physics but in the way human beings see the universe. Every day brings us closer to the most amazing discoveries. That's what keeps me working late at night.

Young-Kee Kim
Physicist, University of Chicago