The Helmholtz Alliance for Astroparticle Physics investigates topics such as the high-energy universe and the dark universe, and pursues cross-cutting activities such as astroparticle theory and technology development. The Alliance unites research being done by 15 German universities in these areas.
Astroparticle physics is a young, interdisciplinary research field located at the interfaces of astrophysics, particle physics, astronomy and cosmology. The Alliance aims to achieve advancements in the field by focusing on the overarching topics of astroparticle theory, the high-energy universe, the dark universe, and highly specialised technologies used at observatories around the world.
The astroparticle theory research topic endeavours to provide a standardised description of the propagation and measurement of cosmic particles. This is regarded as a key to interpreting observation data and to understanding the sources of cosmic rays and the effects of dark matter. The high-energy universe research topic focuses on the composition and interaction of cosmic rays and new detectors, and on joint analysis of observation data for charged particles, gamma radiation and neutrinos. The third research topic, the dark universe, handles advancements in the search for dark matter, whose mass far exceeds the combined mass of all the stars and gas in all the galaxies. What dark matter actually is, however, remains entirely unclear. Work is now being done in this area to develop more sensitive experiments for the future.
Around 100 scientists and 90 PhD students currently work in this new Helmholtz Alliance. The Helmholtz Alliance for Astroparticle Physics will also be taking coordinated action to introduce more young researchers to this complex, interdisciplinary research field.