The IBS Center for Theoretical Physics of the Universe (CTPU) carries out research on particle physics and cosmology, which aims to understand nature at the most fundamental level and answer the big questions about the origin of the universe.
The present theoretical framework for this human endeavor, which is now firmly established, is the Standard Model of particle physics and Einstein's General Relativity. Although they provide an accurate description of almost all known physical phenomena over the scales from the subnuclear to the cosmic, there are many reasons to believe that the Standard Model and General Relativity are not the final story, but merely a kind of approximation to a more fundamental theory. Astonishingly the most compelling reason comes from cosmic observations: the existence of dark matter and matter-antimatter asymmetry in the universe, which can not be explained by the Standard Model. As another compelling reason, the naturalness argument for electroweak symmetry breaking in the Standard Model suggests a possibility of new physics at energy scales around TeV. The quest for unification and a theory of quantum gravity also lead us to speculate about more fundamental theoretical frameworks such as grand unification and string theory.
Currently particle physics is confronting a critical moment, and anticipating a sharp transition over the coming decade. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN began its operation recently to probe the TeV energy scale, and discovered a new boson which is believed to be the Standard Model Higgs boson. The next run of the LHC experiment will bring us an unprecedented opportunity to discover new physics at the energy frontier. There has been impressive progress over the recent years in the sensitivity to probe rare particle processes at low energy scales. The on-going and next generation of dark matter search experiments will arrive soon at the level to explore dark matter candidates in the theoretically favored parameter region. We therefore anticipate that discovery of new physics beyond the Standard Model can be made in the foreseeable future, which will revise our view on the fundamental nature of matter, energy and spacetime.
The prime theme of our research is new physics beyond the Standard Model of particle physics, which can provide an answer to the following fundamental questions:
We are living in a very exciting era for particle physics and cosmology. What is the next fundamental theory that underlies the Standard Model of particle physics? We may be able to uncover it in the near future.