Understanding Our Universe

Studying fundamental forces and elementary particles to understand the nature of matter, energy, space, and time

Glen Crawford
DOE Office of High Energy Physics

The Department of Energy is the primary source of support for physics in the Federal Government. Physics research includes efforts in astrophysics striving to shed light on the dark matter and dark energy that make up 95 percent of our universe. Other efforts focus on Lattice Quantum Chromodynamics, Nuclear structure, turbulence, and preparing for the tidal wave of data that is expected from large physics experiments such as the Large Hadron Collider in Europe. Some of these efforts are partially supported by the National Science Foundation and/or the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).

Nuclear physics research provides new insights to advance our knowledge on the nature of matter and energy. At its heart, nuclear physics attempts to understand the composition, structure, and properties of atomic nuclei. High energy physics strives to understand the universe at a more basic level by investigating the elementary particles that are the fundamental constituents of matter and the forces between them. The study of physics has advanced with the technology to study ever-higher energies and very rare phenomena that probe the smallest dimensions we can see and tell us about the very early history of our universe. While physics has revolutionized our understanding of how the universe works, elements of physics technology have helped transform other fields of science, medicine, and even everyday life. Physics research and its impacts will be remembered as one of the highlights of the history of the late 20th century.

Physics Research Projects Awarded in 2006

When Good Stars Go Bang (with NNSA)
The Computational Astrophysics Consortium studying the causes and effects of Supernovae, Gamma-Ray Bursts, and Nucleosynthesis
    Principal Investigator: Stan Woosley (woosley@ucolick.org)
    University of California - Santa Cruz
Includes a Science Application Partnership Computational Astrophysics Consortium: Adaptive Algorithms
    Principal Investigator: John Bell (jbbell@lbl.gov
    Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

The Secret Life of Quarks
A national computational infrastructure for Lattice Quantum Chromodynamics - the theory of quarks and gluons formulated on a space-time lattice
    Principal Investigator: Robert Sugar (sugar@physics.ucsb.edu)
    University of California - Santa Barbara

A Very Bumpy Ride (with NNSA)
Simulations of turbulent flows hit with strong shockwaves
    Principal Investigator: Sanjiva K. Lele (lele@stanford.edu)
    Stanford University

Computational Science Here, There and Everywhere (with NSF)
Stimulating new discoveries by providing scientists with effective and dependable access to a petascale distributed computational facility
    Principal Investigator: Miron Livny (miron@cs.wisc.edu)
    University of Wisconsin

Alumni Projects

Advanced Computing for 21st Century Accelerator Science and Technology
Developing simulations of particle accelerators, critical research tools for materials, chemistry and biosciences
    Principal Investigator: Robert Ryne ( RDRyne@lbl.gov)
    Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

SciDAC Center for Supernova Research
Developing simulations to understand how supernovae explode and how elements have been created in nature
    Principal Investigator: Stanford Woosley (woosley@ucolick.org)
    University of California - Santa Cruz

Shedding New Light on Exploding Stars
Studying core-collapse supernovae, the most energetic explosions in the cosmos
    Principal Investigator: Tony Mezzacappa (mezzacappaa@ornl.gov)
    Oak Ridge National Laboratory

National Infrastructure for Lattice Gauge Computing
Developing models to understand the strong interaction force of quantum chromodynamics
    Principal Investigator: Robert Sugar (sugar@physics.ucsb.edu)
    University of California - Santa Barbara

The Particle Physics Data Grid
Developing and providing grid-enabled tools for data-intensive physics experiments
    Principal Investigator: Richard Mount (Richard.Mount@SLAC.Stanford.EDU)
    Stanford Linear Accelerator Center


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