The research of the cluster centers on a comprehensive investigation of the intriguing relations between quantum physics describing the smallest objects in nature, and the structure and evolution of the universe. Tremendous progress has been made with recent discoveries in particle physics and cosmology. However, the specific properties of elementary particles and their interactions are still lacking a deeper explanation. Furthermore, the quantum processes in the early universe, such as the generation of the matter-antimatter asymmetry, dark matter, and inflation are not yet described within an established theory. To achieve a coherent conceptual understanding of the fundamental laws of nature, the following questions have to be answered:
- How is the quantum origin of mass connected to the evolution of the universe?
- What is the nature of the dark matter of the universe?
- How is gravity related to the quantum world?
The cluster approaches the fundamental puzzle of mass and gravity from four different directions: Higgs physics, dark matter, gravitational waves, and quantum theories of matter and gravity.
Accordingly, the research program of Quantum Universe is organized within these four interlinked research areas.
The discovery of a Higgs boson at the LHC was an essential first step towards understanding the concept of electroweak symmetry breaking and its relation to the mass of elementary particles. It started a new era in particle physics that is driven by ongoing improvements of the LHC accelerator to obtain much more data and correspondingly increasing demands for particle detectors. The cluster will engage in exploiting this data and its implications for cosmology.
Area Coordinator: Georg Weiglein
Principal Investigators: Ties Behnke, Elisabetta Gallo, Erika Garutti, Ingrid-Maria Gregor, Christophe Grojean, Caren Hagner, Johannes Haller, Beate Heinemann, Gregor Kasieczka, Jan Louis, Gudrid Moortgat-Pick, Andreas Ringwald, Peter Schleper, Kai Schmidt-Hoberg, Géraldine Servant, Kerstin Tackmann, Georg Weiglein, Alexander Westphal
Key Researchers: Sarah Heim, Andreas Hinzmann, Sven-Olaf Moch, Klaus Mönig, Krisztian Peters, Daniel Pitzl, Jürgen Reuter, Filippo Sala, Christian Schwanenberger, Felix Sefkow, Georg Steinbrück, Frank Tackmann
While there is overwhelming observational evidence for the existence of dark matter, the nature of its constituents is unclear, and the possible ranges of their masses and couplings span many orders of magnitude. Building on experimental, observational, and theoretical expertise, the cluster will probe the possible interactions of dark matter particles in a variety of ways.
Area Coordinator: Dieter Horns
Principal Investigators: Marcus Brüggen, Erika Garutti, Florian Grüner, Caren Hagner, Johannes Haller, Beate Heinemann, Dieter Horns, Gregor Kasieczka, Jochen Liske, Jan Louis, Gudrid Moortgat-Pick, Andreas Ringwald, Peter Schleper, Kai Schmidt-Hoberg, Géraldine Servant, Günter Sigl, Georg Weiglein, Alexander Westphal
Key Researchers: Ralph Aßmann, David Berge, Torben Ferber, Sarah Heim, Belina von Krosigk, Axel Lindner, Andreas Maier, Carsten Niebuhr, Jens Osterhoff, Krisztian Peters, Martin Pohl, Filippo Sala, Christian Schwanenberger, Frank Tackmann, Ralf Wischnewski, Ulf Zastrau
The recent discovery of gravitational waves (GW) opens a new era of astronomy, as GWs provide a new channel for observing properties of the universe. The detection of GWs and electromagnetic follow-up observations together with theoretical studies of their sources provide a direct link to the origin and distribution of matter in the universe as well as to the theory of gravity.
Area Coordinator: Marcus Brüggen
Principal Investigators: Robi Banerjee, Marcus Brüggen, Oliver Gerberding, Christophe Grojean, Dieter Horns, Jochen Liske, Jan Louis, Rafael Porto, Roman Schnabel, Géraldine Servant, Günter Sigl, Alexander Westphal
The three main questions of the cluster – the quantum origin of mass, the nature of dark matter, and the relation of gravity to the quantum world – all raise major theoretical challenges. They require a coordinated effort and concrete tools at the interface of mathematics and physics, which will trigger advances in both theoretical physics and mathematics.
Area Coordinator: Jörg Teschner
Principal Investigators: Gleb Arutyunov, Vicente Cortés, Tobias Dyckerhoff, Christophe Grojean, Julian Holstein, Jan Louis, Andreas Ringwald, Ingo Runkel, Volker Schomerus, Christoph Schweigert, Géraldine Servant, Jörg Teschner, Timo Weigand, Alexander Westphal