BQ1: What are universal laws of nature?

Over the past century experimental observations and theory developments have driven remarkable changes in our understanding of the laws that govern the behavior of matter at small distances and the character of large cosmological structures. These two apparent disparate domains of nature are connected when theories of fundamental particles and forces on the microscopic scale are applied to the evolution of the universe. The next few decades will reveal a still deeper level of understanding of these ultimate laws of nature. This progress is being driven by a new generation of experimental tools that will probe matter with increased precision, energy and sensitivity. The data provided may reveal new physics beyond our current understanding and will aid in the development of theories of the behavior of fundamental particles and their applications to understanding the time line from the big bang to the fate of our universe.

Duke physicists are exploring the properties of neutrinos, the origin of mass, the structure of matter, and fundamental symmetries. Theoretical studies of the strong force, extensions of the Standard Model, string theory and the gravitational probes of cosmological structures complement the experimental research programs.

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