The Stefan Meyer Institute (SMI) is devoted to basic research in the field of subatomic physics. Our research focuses on the study of fundamental symmetries and interactions, addressing the following questions:
- What are the properties of the forces that exist in nature?
- What is the origin of the mass of the visible universe?
- Why do the remains of the Big Bang consist only of matter and not of antimatter?
We specialise in precision experiments using exotic atoms, exotic meson-nucleus bound states as well as hadrons (elementary particles consisting of quarks and held together by the strong interaction) as an integral part of international collaborations at large-scale re-search facilities in Europe and Japan. These are among the world’s leading facilities for subatomic physics and our projects are subject to rigorous annual evaluation to monitor their progress in a dynamic and expanding field.
We aspire to perform research that increases the understanding of fundamental physics principles while simultaneously providing opportunities for young Austrians to obtain valuable experience at institutes unavailable to them at home.
Our research program focused on two fields:
Using Low-energy precision experiments we investigate the limits of the standard model of particle physics in a way that is complementary to experiments at the highest energies. We study the matter-antimatter symmetry, the validity of the Pauli principle, and through a New Frontiers Group the structure and nature of the weak interaction using neutrons.
In Hadron physics we study the strong interaction at low and medium energies, in a re-gime where its strength is so large that accurate theoretical treatment is still difficult. We try to understand how hadrons are formed from quarks and how their masses are created by dynamic processes of quarks and gluons. A New Frontier Group adds the study of the Quark Gluon Plasma, a state of high temperature as it presumably existed during the early universe where quarks and gluons became free, to our program.