Inner Space, Outer Space

David Schramm
"The early universe was in some sense an elementary particle physics laboratory . . . In fact, the physics governing what was going on in the early universe is the physics of elementary particles." –Leon Lederman, experimental physicist and David Schramm, cosmologist, From Quarks to the Cosmos

Leon Lederman
The physics of the ultimately small-particle physics-is deeply connected to the physics of the ultimately large—the structure and evolution of the universe. Particle accelerators can recreate the levels of energy that existed in the instants after the big bang, making the kinds of collisions that characterized the whole universe at its birth. Astronomical data from today’s powerful instruments shed light on the fundamental nature of matter.

Today, particle physics learns from astronomy, and astronomy learns from physics. For example, astronomical observations predict that there are only three generations of elementary particles, a prediction confirmed by accelerator experiments. And physics experiments imply a mass for the particles called neutrinos, a finding with profound implications for the way the universe is put together.

Why is there more matter than antimatter in the universe? Will the universe expand forever? How fast is it expanding? What is dark matter? How did a smooth universe become a "lumpy" one, filled with stars, galaxies and quasars? Exploring these critical questions will deepen the powerful connection between particle physics and astronomy.