The mission of the High Energy Physics 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.
— Mission Statement, DOE Office of High Energy Physics
At Fermilab, experiments probe the fundamental nature of matter, energy, space and time both with powerful accelerators, and by studying the "Cosmic Frontier". Fermilab's Center for Particle Astrophysics uses the whole universe as a natural laboratory, more extreme than any human-made accelerator, to seek a deeper understanding of how the world works.
Today, many of the deepest mysteries of physics have a cosmic connection. The universe appears to be accelerating due to a new form of "Dark Energy" with no explanation in standard physics. Most of the mass of all galaxies, including the one we live in, is composed of a new kind of "Dark Matter" that has never yet been found in the laboratory, but only by its astronomical gravitational effects. Indeed, the connection of gravity and spacetime with the rest of "Standard Model" matter and energy still defies understanding. In recent decades, some of the most important new discoveries of new matter particles have come from studies of astrophysical neutrinos.
Fermilab long ago realized the power of combining cosmology and particle physics. Astrophysics at Fermilab goes back to 1983, with the founding of the Theoretical Astrophysics Group. Experimental efforts have expanded over the past decade in partnership with many international collaborations: Sloan Digital Sky Survey, Cryogenic Dark Matter Search, Pierre Auger Observatory, Dark Energy Survey, Chicagoland Observatory for Underground Particular Physics, and others. As in accelerator experiments, these particle astrophysics projects partner with Fermilab for its technical resources and scientific leadership.
The Fermilab Center for Particle Astrophysics aims