|PARTICLE PHYSICS: Physicists continually seek to discover the fundamental particles of the universe and to describe their interactions. To create fundamental particles to study (their lifetimes are billionths of billionths of a second) the debris obtained from high-energy collisions of other particles are studied. A photograph of such a collision is shown at left. Although this method has been highly successful, it has been likened to learning about engines by slamming pairs of automobiles together until a working engine flies out.|
|LASERS/QUANTUM MECHANICS: Quantum mechanics teaches us that when particles are confined to a small region, the possible kinetic energies they have are limited to discrete levels as opposed to a continuum. Lasers operate by the emission of photons given off when electrons at one energy level fall to a lower one.|
ASTROPHYSICS: Around half of the stars in our galaxy form binary pairs. Recently physicists have been using numerical computer simulations to simulate the formation of an accretion disk in a gas cloud into a binary pair. The image at left is a frame of such an simulation. Click it or this link to find pages with more information on the computer simulation of fascinating astrophysical phenomena.