PROFILE OF THE INSTITUTE
The Institute of High Energy Physics (HEPHY), founded in 1966 and responsible for high energy physics research at the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW), mainly focuses on the participation in large experiments at CERN - Europe's largest particle physics laboratory - and at KEK, the national high energy research centre in Japan. Moreover, it participates in the design of the ILD experiment at the International Linear Collider (ILC).
In 2010, the Institute was evaluated by an international group of experts. The report of this panel also includes the Stefan Meyer Institute of the ÖAW.
The Institute of High Energy Physics studies the fundamental building blocks of matter and the forces which govern their interactions. The development of a consistent picture of the microcosm is an essential part on the road to understanding nature. Elementary particle physics, in particular, helps to improve our comprehension of the universe in its very early state after the Big Bang.
In order to study the properties of fundamental particles, such as quarks or electrons, the most important tools are large-scale collider machines which accelerate particles to very high energies and guide them to collision. These particle interactions - producing a plethora of secondary particles - are studied in detail and provide us with new insights about the functioning of nature.
Large detectors measure many important properties of the produced particles and of the laws and forces that govern their existence. The huge amount of data from such experimental measurements is thoroughly analysed and the results are compared to predictions from theoretical models. From these comparisons, we can either corroborate or discard models or find ways to improve them. Examples for such models or theories that are scrutinized at present are supersymmetry and the Higgs mechanism.