Four Helmholtz Centres contribute to the programme MATTER AND THE UNIVERSE (MU): Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) in Hamburg and Zeuthen, Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ), Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung (GSI) in Darmstadt with its Helmholtz Institute in Mainz (HIM), as well as Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).
The task of the programme is literally to connect quarks and leptons to the cosmos. Disciplines such as elementary particle physics, astroparticle physics, the physics of hadrons and nuclei, atomic and plasma physics join forces to find answers to fundamental questions, including "What is the origin, structure and future of the Universe?", "What are the building blocks of matter and how do they interact?" or "How did complex structures form?".
These questions are jointly addressed by researchers working in large international collaborations. The communities are connected in vivid networks and three Helmholtz Alliances among Helmholtz Centres, universities and other research centres. They have excellent and unique infrastructures at their disposal, including e.g. the Large Hadron Collider LHC at CERN, the accelerator complex and future FAIR facility at GSI and numerous large detectors, underground laboratories or observatories for viewing deep into the cosmos. MATTER AND THE UNIVERSE is organised in three topics:
- Topic 1: Fundamental Particles and Forces [DESY, KIT] focuses on our understanding of the fundamental building blocks of matter and the forces between them.
- Topic 2: Cosmic Matter in the Laboratory [FZJ, GSI] is dedicated to the dynamics of quark-gluon and the ones of hadrons, and to the generation of complex clusters of elementary matter and chemical elements.
- Topic 3: Matter and Radiation from the Universe [DESY, KIT] concentrates on key aspects of astroparticle physics.