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The Standard Model can conclusively explain the known part of the universe, i.e. five percent of it. But it leaves many questions, such as those relating to antimatter, dark matter or dark energy, unanswered.
Celestial objects such as supernovas, neutron stars or black holes also pose mysteries for us: How do they form and evolve? What is the release mechanism for the huge amounts of energy which we can observe with telescopes? These questions could also be answered by a physics which goes beyond the Standard Model.
Our scientists are searching for this “new physics”. Theoretical physics works with mathematical models that are based on quantum mechanics. It includes phenomenological studies as well as the further development of current theories from astroparticle physics or cosmology. A special significance is afforded here to string theory, which allows two previously irreconcilable concepts to be unified: The General Theory of Relativity and quantum physics.
Experimental physicists, in contrast, put their faith in innovative technologies and instruments to track down unknown particles and interactions. Examples are experiments on accelerators and high-sensitivity detectors, which can unearth rare particles and decays.