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Curiosity and technology drive quest to reveal fundamental secrets of the universe

好奇心和技术推动探索揭示宇宙的基本秘密

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【时间】: 2021-07-16
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Argonne-driven technology is part of a broad initiative to answer fundamental questions about the birth of matter in the universe and the building blocks that hold it all together.
With no less a sense of wonder than most of us, Habib and colleagues at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory are actively researching these questions through an initiative that investigates the fundamental components of both particle physics and astrophysics.
The breadth of Argonne’s research in these areas is mind-boggling. It takes us back to the very edge of time itself, to some infinitesimally small portion of a second after the Big Bang when random fluctuations in temperature and density arose, eventually forming the breeding grounds of galaxies and planets.
It explores the heart of protons and neutrons to understand the most fundamental constructs of the visible universe, particles and energy once free in the early post-Big Bang universe, but later confined forever within a basic atomic structure as that universe began to cool.
And it addresses slightly newer, more controversial questions about the nature of dark matter and dark energy, both of which play a dominant role in the makeup and dynamics of the universe but are little understood.
“And this world-class research we’re doing could not happen without advances in technology,” said Argonne Associate Laboratory Director Kawtar Hafidi, who helped define and merge the different aspects of the initiative.
“We are developing and fabricating detectors that search for signatures from the early universe or enhance our understanding of the most fundamental of particles,” she added. ?“And because all of these detectors create big data that have to be analyzed, we are developing, among other things, artificial intelligence techniques to do that as well.”