The mission of the High Energy Physics (HEP) program is to understand how our universe works at its most fundamental level. We do this by discovering the most elementary constituents of matter and energy, exploring the basic nature of space and time itself, and probing the interactions between them. These fundamental ideas are at the heart of physics and hence all of the physical sciences. To enable these discoveries, HEP supports theoretical and experimental research in both elementary particle physics and fundamental accelerator science and technology. HEP underpins and advances the DOE missions and objectives through this research, and by the development of key technologies and trained manpower needed to work at the cutting edge of science.
HEP, our Nation, and the World
AP Photo Denis Balibouse, Pool
Physicists from around the world celebrate as the announcement of the Higgs boson at CERN. Learn more about US participation in the Higgs discovery here.
Particle physics is a highly successful, discovery-driven science. It explores the fundamental constituents of matter and energy, and it reveals the profound connections underlying everything we see, including the smallest and the largest structures in the Universe.
Particle physics is global. The HEP program pursues the most important opportunities wherever they are, and hosts unique, world-class facilities that engage the global scientific community. HEP supports experiments found deep underground and in outer space, around the U.S. and across the globe. HEP also develops test facilities for future technological breakthroughs in accelerator science as we push our accelerators to higher energy and intensity and our detectors to higher speed and sensitivity.
We partner with other agencies, such as the National Science Foundation and NASA, to engage their scientific and technical expertise, coordinating interagency efforts to ensure effective and efficient progress. We solicit advice from advisory panels to periodically review our role in the nation’s HEP program and provide advice on the formulation of long-range plans, priorities, and strategies. We have collaborative agreements with other countries to pursue the highest priority science and forge lasting relationships based on these shared interests.
Particle physics shares with other basic sciences the need to innovate, invent, and develop technologies to carry out its mission to explore the nature of matter, energy, space and time. Advanced particle accelerators, cutting-edge particle detectors, and sophisticated computing techniques are essential tools for modern particle physics research. The advancement of dedicated technology for particle physics has benefited tremendously from progress in other areas of science. In return, developments within the particle physics community have enabled basic scientific research and applications in numerous other areas. This broad, connected scientific enterprise provides tremendous benefits to society as a whole.
Allocations reflect actual dollars through FY 2013, appropriated funds for FY 2014, and the President’s request for FY 2015.
HEP carries out its mission by investing its resources in Research, Projects, and Facilities.
Investments in Research are an investment in people.
The research program supports the scientists whose activities give meaning to experimental data. A thriving theory program is essential for both identifying new directions for the field and supporting the current experimental program. HEP supports highly trained scientists, students, engineers, computer professionals, and skilled support staffs at universities and national laboratories across the nation. Research at universities is guided by a competitive, proposal-driven process that ensures the best research is supported. Research at national laboratories is mission-driven and coordinated with other efforts to optimally leverage the unique lab infrastructure.
Investments in construction and fabrication Projects secure the future of scientific discovery. Experimental research requires development, construction, operation, and scientific exploitation of projects and facilities, often of significant scale. Projects are enablers; they enable the scientific community to explore the universe in new ways and make discoveries, such as the Higgs boson, a particle that gives mass to many other elementary particles.
Investments in Facilities ensure a steady flow of scientific results. To ensure the smooth continual collection of data required for scientific discovery, projects once completed, must operate smoothly and efficiently. This requires the diverse skills of many people, not just scientists, but technical people and strong administrators