Research in particle physics aims at attaining a fundamental description of the laws of physics. Although fundamentally driven by the quest for knowledge, the ensuing research is performed at the edge of what is technologically feasible and hence drives the development of technology in many areas.
With the start-up of CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in 2008/2009 and preparations for a linear collider on the way, we expect revolutionary results explaining the origin of matter and mass, unravelling the nature of dark matter and providing glimpses of extra spatial dimensions or a grand unification of forces. Any of these insights would dramatically change our view of the world.
In order to optimally place German particle physics in a global research environment, the new structure of the Helmholtz Alliance 'Physics at the Terascale' was founded, bundling the German activities in the field of high-energy collider physics. It is a network comprising all German research institutes working on LHC experiments, a future linear collider or the related phenomenology - 18 universities, two Helmholtz Centres and one Max Planck Institute. The Alliance includes the following topics: development of new accelerator and detector technologies, methods of data analysis, development of theoretical models and methods and development of the relevant computing infrastructure. The Alliance acts as a tool for a more effective collaboration, in particular between experimentalists and theorists.
An important aspect of the Alliance is the creation of common infrastructures. All partners of the Alliance contribute to and use these infrastructures for specific research projects. One example of such infrastructure is the National Analysis Facility (NAF). The Virtual Theory Institute (VTI) holds regular seminars starting in June 2008. These are broadcast via EVO and all Alliance members can participate. The Analysis Centre provides training, support and own contributions for all analysis-related issues, currently focusing on Monte Carlo generators, parton distribution functions, statistics tools and the interpretation of physics beyond the Standard Model of particle physics.
The Alliance is part of a much broader truly international effort to explore the physics at the Terascale. It is the goal of the Alliance to strengthen the position of the German groups working in the field through this coherent ansatz.