DOE provides the majority (approximately 90%) of federal support
for high-energy and nuclear physics research, which uses advanced accelerator
facilities as well as detectors placed underground and in space to understand
the fundamental nature of matter, energy, space, time and the properties and
interactions of atomic nuclei and nuclear matter.
High energy and nuclear physics research have been central to the development of
technologies that include nuclear energy, nuclear medicine, nuclear weapons
stockpile, synchrotron light sources and pulsed neutron sources for biological
and materials research, ion implanters for the semiconductor industry, and
detectors for smuggled nuclear materials.
In astrophysics, experimental and theoretical studies of accelerator-based
particle physics experiments shed light on the birth and evolution of the
universe immediately after the Big Bang (www.fnal.gov/pub/inquiring/physics/astrophysics/index.html).
supernovae discovered a mysterious dark energy that makes up 65% of the universe
and causes its expansion to accelerate rather than decelerate. (www-physics.lbl.gov) Underground
neutrino detector facilities have answered long-standing questions about the
solar neutrino flux and have given strong indications of neutrino mass.
Searches are underway to identify the dark matter that makes up 30% of the
universe. These investigations are complemented by advances in understanding the
large-scale structure and evolution of the universe, giving new insight into the
nature of matter at the smallest scale. Experimental nuclear astrophysics uses
terrestrial accelerators to explore the physical processes important in the life
and death of stars. Large-scale computational studies of core-collapse
supernovae aim to elucidate the physical mechanism and the wealth of observable
consequences of these massive stellar explosions.
One of DOE’s long-term goals is to advance plasma science and harness fusion as
a viable energy source; to this end, the agency supports research on the physics
of plasmas and is exploring innovative paths to fusion energy. (http://science.energy.gov/fes/)
Related Topics: accelerating universe, accelerators, Argonne
National Laboratory, atomic energy, BOOMERANG, Brookhaven National Laboratory,
Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF), CERN, colliders, cosmic
microwave background (CMB), Energy Sciences network (Esnet), Fermi National
Accelerator Laboratory, General Atomics Fusion Group, gravity in extra
dimensions, Large Hadron Collider, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory,
MAXIMA, MiniBooNE, MIT Plasma Fusion Center, National Ignition Facility Project,
neutrinos, nuclear energy, nuclear stockpile, nuclear medicine, Numerical
Tokamak Turbulence Project, NuMI/MINOS, Oak Ridge National Laboratory Holifield
Radioactive Ion Beam Facility (HRIBF), optics (visible and invisible light),
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC),
SciDAC Supernova Science Center, SciDAC accelerator modeling project, SNO, Space
Telescope, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC), Super-Kamiokande,
SuperNova/Acceleration Probe (SNAP), synchrotrons, Terascale Supernova
Initiative, Tevatron, Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, 88-Inch
The Department of Energy's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.