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Topic 3: "Matter and Radiation from the Universe"

Astroparticle physics in Germany has developed an internationally distinct scientific profile with the high visibility of the Helmholtz Association. This programme topic concentrates on key aspects of astroparticle physics. The scientific goals include
  • understanding the origin and properties of the most energetic cosmic particles,
  • the establishment of multi-messenger astroparticle physics using high-energy neutrinos, photons and charged particles,
  • identification and understanding of Dark Matter, and
  • the clarification of the properties of neutrinos, in particular their mass.

The Helmholtz programme has shaped astroparticle physics on an international level and strengthened the European coordination. In the next programme period we will pursue this architectural role with the following endeavours:

  • extension of the scientific portfolio in the analysis and theory sectors,
  • further development of the Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina, IceCube at the South Pole, KATRIN at KIT
  • intensified search for Dark Matter particles in a global experiment, which combines the capabilities of EDELWEISS, EURECA and SuperCDMS,
  • development, preparation and construction of the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) and participation in current gamma-ray observatories H.E.S.S., MAGIC and VERITAS,
  • explorative studies in neutrino physics and the development, preparation and construction of novel detection systems for Dark Matter and cosmic rays.

Within the Helmholtz Alliance for Astroparticle Physics (HAP), KIT and DESY will extend the cooperation with 15 German universities, three Max Planck Institutes and five international partners and strive for a sustained future of the network.


A distinctive feature of this programme topic is that our unique large research instruments are often not hosted at established laboratories but at remote locations.