In its infancy, the universe was awash in fundamental particles. Over billions of years, matter cooled and clumped into stars and galaxies, tied together by a cosmic web of dark matter. Dark energy drove the expansion of the universe. And the evolution continues, as stars, black holes and whole galaxies collide and shower us with cosmic rays.
SLAC particle physicists, astrophysicists and cosmologists study the universe from all angles – from the fundamental particles and interactions that drive nuclear reactions within stars to the forces that shaped galaxies and beyond.
Elementary particle physics
SLAC particle physicists use powerful particle accelerators to create and study nature’s fundamental building blocks and forces, build sensitive detectors to search for new particles and develop theories that explain and guide experiments. Their interests include the Higgs boson, neutrinos and the nature of dark matter.
Astrophysics and cosmology
To explore the birth of the universe, the formation of stars and galaxies and the fundamental structure of space and time, SLAC researchers develop cutting-edge technologies for sensitive experiments located deep underground, on the Earth’s surface and in space. SLAC's astrophysicists and cosmologists pursue top-priority research on topics including dark matter and dark energy, the formation of galaxies and cosmic evolution.