A joint Fermilab/SLAC publication

Big ideas, big picture

Broaden and deepen your understanding of particle physics and astrophysics.


What the Higgs boson tells us about the universe

The Higgs boson is the only fundamental particle known to be scalar, meaning it has no quantum spin. This fact answers questions about our universe, but it also raises new ones.


Beyond the Standard Model

The Standard Model is one of the most well-tested theories in particle physics. But scientists are searching for new physics beyond it.


What is annihilation?

In particle physics, “annihilation” is a transformation.


Are leptons all alike?

Building experimental evidence suggests that the electron, muon and tau may feel different forces.


The problem-solver: Cosmic inflation

Just over 40 years ago, a new theory about the early universe provided a way to tackle multiple cosmological conundrums at once.


Eyes on the sky

There’s no one best way to build a telescope.


The coevolution of particle physics and computing

Over time, particle physics and astrophysics and computing have built upon one another’s successes. That coevolution continues today.


What is a photon?

The fundamental particle of light is both ordinary and full of surprises.


Six fabulous facts about the Standard Model

Learn about the Standard Model of particle physics and how physicists use it to predict the (subatomic) future.


Six questions physicists ask when evaluating scientific claims

Not all scientific claims are equal. How can you tell if a discovery is real?


How big can a fundamental particle be?

Extremely massive fundamental particles could exist, but they would seriously mess with our understanding of quantum mechanics.


Nature through the looking glass

Handedness—and the related concept of chirality—are double-sided ways of understanding how matter breaks symmetries.


What dark matter is (probably) not

No one knows for sure what dark matter is. But we know we need something to explain what we see in the universe, and we’ve crossed a few ideas off of our list.


The stories a muon could tell

The discovery of the muon originally confounded physicists. Today international experiments are using the previously perplexing particle to gain a new understanding of our world.


How do neutrinos get their mass?

Neutrinos don’t seem to get their mass in the same way as other particles in the Standard Model.


What we know about dark matter

Although scientists have yet to find the spooky stuff, they aren’t completely in the dark.


With open data, scientists share their work

There are barriers to making scientific data open, but doing so has already contributed to scientific progress.


Massless particles can’t be stopped

If a particle has no mass, how can it exist?


The 9 percent difference

A discrepancy between different measurements of the Hubble constant makes scientists question whether something is amiss in our understanding of the universe.


A universe is born

Take a (brief) journey through the early history of our cosmos.


Falsifiability and physics

Can a theory that isn’t completely testable still be useful to physics?


The potential of plasma wakefield acceleration

Scientists around the world are testing ways to further boost the power of particle accelerators while drastically shrinking their size.


Five mysteries the Standard Model can’t explain

Our best model of particle physics explains only about 5 percent of the universe.


How not to be fooled in physics

Particle physicists and astrophysicists employ a variety of tools to avoid erroneous results.


Waiting for a sign

Some scientists spend decades trying to catch a glimpse of a rare process. But with good experimental design and a lot of luck, they often need only a handful of signals to make a discovery.


The coevolution of physics and math

Breakthroughs in physics sometimes require an assist from the field of mathematics—and vice versa.


Machine evolution

Planning the next big science machine requires consideration of both the current landscape and the distant future.


What can particles tell us about the cosmos?

The minuscule and the immense can reveal quite a bit about each other.


The facts and nothing but the facts

At a recent workshop on blind analysis, researchers discussed how to keep their expectations out of their results.


How blue-sky research shapes the future

While driven by the desire to pursue curiosity, fundamental investigations are the crucial first step to innovation.


How to make a discovery

Particle physics is a dance between theory and experiment.


How to build a universe

Our universe should be a formless fog of energy. Why isn’t it?


What ended the dark ages of the universe?

New experiments will help astronomers uncover the sources that helped make the universe transparent.


The deconstructed Standard Model equation

The Standard Model is far more than elementary particles arranged in a table.


All four one and one for all

A theory of everything would unite the four forces of nature, but is such a thing possible?


What is a “particle”?

Quantum physics says everything is made of particles, but what does that actually mean?


Where does mass come from?

The Higgs field gives mass to elementary particles, but most of our mass comes from somewhere else.


Why do objects feel solid?

The way you think about atoms may not be quite right.


The particle physics of you

Not only are we made of fundamental particles, we also produce them and are constantly bombarded by them throughout the day.


New discovery? Or just another bump?

For physicists, seeing is not always believing.


The age of the universe

How can we figure out when the universe began?


The mystery of particle generations

Why are there three almost identical copies of each particle of matter?


Is this the only universe?

Our universe could be just one small piece of a bubbling multiverse.


Our flat universe

Not a curve in sight, as far as the eye can see.


Einstein's most famous equation

You’ve heard of Einstein’s E=mc2, but what does it mean?


When research worlds collide

Particle physicists and scientists from other disciplines are finding ways to help one another answer critical questions.


Waiting for supernova

Catching a nearby supernova would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience that could give scientists a glimpse into physics they could never recreate on Earth.


Physicists harness the power of probability

What do the stock market, weather models and the discovery of the Higgs boson all have in common? They all are deeply indebted to statistics.


The early universe

How is it possible to look at the earliest moments of the universe? Physicists have their ways—and what they find out will tell us a lot about how the universe works today and how it will unfold in the future.


Why particle physics matters

Particle physics has revolutionized the way we look at the universe. Along the way, it’s made significant impacts on other fields of science, improved daily life for people around the world and trained a new generation of scientists and computing professionals.


Unanswered questions

Do you think scientists have the answers to all the questions? As these researchers admit, there’s still so much to discover. Particle physics is brimming with mysteries and unknowns.


The great physics quest

In their search for fundamental truths, particle physicists have a lot in common with explorers everywhere. 


Real talk: Everything is made of fields

Theorist Sean Carroll thinks it’s time you learned the truth: All of the particles you know—including the Higgs—are actually fields.


Through a muon’s eyes

The muon—the short-lived cousin of the electron—could be the key to understanding relationships between other fundamental particles. And it holds a mystery all its own.