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About MECO


KOPIO Who's Who
KOPIO @ Brookhaven

The Heart of Matter
Constituents of Matter
Symmetry Violaton
Measuring B(KOPIO)

Project participants

Science in the National Interest

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The Basic Constituents of Matter

The innermost secrets of matter and energy are hidden in the world of fundamental particles. These particles compose all matter and the laws they obey apparently apply at all times and places in the universe. The goal of particle physics is to map out this world and discover the rules that govern its behavior. This knowledge has far reaching consequences for our understanding of what the universe is and how it came to be.

Physics, astronomy and mathematics have had phenomenal success in discovering simple laws and symmetry principles, which govern matter and mathematical structures at their most fundamental levels. These triumphs have unraveled the behavior of matter at the smallest scales, have had immense consequences for understanding the history of the universe, and have led to the development of the basic mathematical models needed for such understanding.

Thanks to new experimental findings brought to light at particle accelerators worldwide, the last decades have given rise to a radically new and simple picture of nature on the most fundamental level, known as the standard model (SM) of Particle Physics. According to the SM, matter in every form is assembled from a few basic building blocks called quarks and leptons.

The SM describes the remarkable discoveries made in particle physics and is consistent with all laboratory observations. It not only provides a framework for describing and understanding the world around us but also provides insights into the first instants of creation of the universe – the Big Bang. The SM provides a unification of the strong, weak, and electromagnetic forces and hints at the possibility of incorporating gravity into quantum theory.

KOPIO is among a new generation of international collaborative projects, experiments and particle accelerators, conceived to explore the interactions of elementary particles at mass and energy scales not achieved since the time of the Big Bang. Experiments now in progress or under construction will likely discover the Higgs particle, which is believed to be responsible for generating the masses of fundamental particles. This new research may reveal the origin of the symmetry violation responsible for the dominance of matter over anti-matter in the known universe. In addition, this research may be capable of shedding light on the “dark matter" in the universe, which apparently constitutes 90% or more of its mass yet produces no measurable radiation.

> CONTINUE: Symmetry Violation


Last updated January 24, 2006 by Gary Schroeder.