Newswise — WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $93 million in funding for 71 research projects that will spur new discoveries in High Energy Physics. The projects—housed at 50 colleges and universities across 29 states—are exploring the basics of energy science that underlie technological advancements in medicine, computing, energy technologies, manufacturing, national security and more.

“Particle physics plays a role in many major innovations of the 21st century, and to keep our competitive edge America must invest in the scientists and engineers that are advancing basic physical science today to create the breakthroughs of tomorrow,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “The Department of Energy is proud to be the nation’s leading funder of physical sciences, leading to life-changing medicines, technologies and solutions that create a better future.”

Serving as a cornerstone of America’s science efforts, DOE’s High Energy Physics program plays a major role in nurturing top scientific talent and building and sustaining the nation’s scientific workforce. For example, the pharmaceutical industry uses X-ray beams created by DOE’s particle accelerators to develop more effective drugs to fight disease, and DOE's particle accelerators helped create the heat shrink wrap used by households and businesses across the world to keep food and produce fresh. The High Energy Physics program’s principal goal is to provide a deeper understanding of how our universe works at its most fundamental level. Particle accelerators and other tools developed in pursuing this goal often meet other needs of society.

Projects selected in today’s announcement cover a wide range of topics at the frontiers of particle physics, including Higgs boson, neutrinos, dark matter, dark energy, quantum theory, and the search for new physics. A sample of the projects include:

  • Study of Dark Matter and the Expansion of the Universe — Researchers at the Penn State University will advance the search for dark matter with the LZ (LUX-ZEPLIN) experiment one mile below the Black Hills of South Dakota (Award amount: $1,145,000).

    The Scientists at Cornell University (Award amount: $100,000) and the University of Wyoming (Award amount: $240,000) will utilize The Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument to measure the effect of dark energy on the expansion of the universe.
  • Develop particle physics theory, advanced particle accelerators, and new detector technologies — Researchers at the University of Michigan (Award amount: $1,060,000) are exploring particle beam acceleration. The University of Colorado will develop information on elementary particle physics and high energy phenomena (Award amount: $4,163,000).

The projects are managed by the Office of High Energy Physics within the DOE Office of Science.

The full list of projects and more information can be found here.