Scientists are Conducting Fundamental Research with ‘Speed Machines’

By Maria Anna van Driel,

Particle physicists claim they understand the universe, but the complexity of this surprising paradox behind our universe reveals to us that still 95 percent of the universe is yet not understood nor has it been seen directly. Mind dazzling indeed but if our universe would not contain e.g. entropy, wiggling particles possessing their own “wiggle-room” so to speak and slow, non-excited, as they seem to be, “hippy particles” as some of its fundamental components, we would not have the complex world we see today, including you and me.

Particles at atomic and subatomic levels posses a certain complexity whereby they can show a beautiful phenomena known as ‘murmuration’ which is the behavior exhibited when huge flocks of birds (starlings to be exact) in migration form shape-shifting flight patterns whereby it appears the involving of some kind of shared consciousness or central intelligence. Like these birds, subatomic particles can behave in a similar manner whereby it seems that they are orchestrated by some higher power. This can drive them into a dark structure that winds up being complex, when seen as a whole. But in reality, what we witness is the emergent patterns from each individual particle simply doing it darndest not to collide with the particles nearby.

However, finding plausible answers these days with the avalanche of information produced by many of today’s scientists due the experiments they are conducting, is not an easy task and thus I made an appointment with the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron in Hamburg, Germany in order to satisfy some of my childhood euphoria and curiosity concerning the new knowledge in advanced technologies even more. Arriving at the enormous campus of DESY, two sympathetic portiers directed me to building 1 where I met Dr. Thomas Zoufal, PhD.
After completing his PhD in physics at the University of Hamburg, Dr. Zoufal has committed himself to DESY’s PR-department in 2006 and has been tasked with since.

Even the complexity of research projects like Alps II (Any Light Particle Search) for instance, looks a little bit blurry in the beginning, Dr. Zoufal explains in understandable language and great detail the experiment with which particle physicists want to prove the existence of the hypothetical Axion-like particles that might be constituents of the mysterious dark matter but haven´t been seen so far. “There are very serious theories saying that they have to be there!” Dr. Zoufal says.

But the ‘Light-Through-The-Wall’ experiment, which hopefully will provide more answers to what dark matter could be, is only one of many projects of the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron. Accelerator technology, photon science, particle physics and astro-particle physics are DESY’s research interest. According to the website; “These four areas are the basis for mastering some complex challenges of the future.” And with a variety in research options and with its huge research infrastructures like the synchrotron radiation source PETRA III, DESY attracts more than 3000 guest researchers from over 40 countries every year who join DESY´s scientists in turning the research center into a big think tank while plowing through mountains of data, looking for the tiniest building blocks of matter that make up our world, developing innovative high-tech materials and searching for sustainable solutions and new technologies with new conceptual approaches for future energy supply, climate protection and healthcare.

Indeed, your insight and curiosity with the latest innovative technologies science has to offer these days in accelerator technology starts with one of the world’s leading accelerator centres: DESY.

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