High Energy Physics
The Department of Energy's Office of Science High Energy Physics (HEP) program 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, thereby underpinning and advancing DOE missions and objectives through the development of key cutting-edge technologies and trained manpower that provide unique support to these missions. This program will provide world-class, peer-reviewed research results in high energy physics and related fields, including particle astrophysics and cosmology, executing a long-range strategy for high energy physics research and technology.
The study of high energy physics, also known as particle physics, grew out of nuclear and cosmic ray physics in the 1950’s, and measured the properties and interactions of fundamental particles at the highest energies (millions of electron-volts) then available with a relatively new technology, particle accelerators. Today that technology has advanced so that forefront particle accelerators produce exquisitely controlled beams with energies of trillions of electron-volts and intense enough to melt metal. The science 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 the science has revolutionized our understanding of how the universe works, elements of the technology have helped transform other fields of science, medicine, and even everyday life. The science and its impacts will be remembered as one of the highlights of the history of the late 20th century.