What is the nature of the universe and what is it made of?
What are matter, energy, space and time?
How did we get here and where are we going?
Physicists have developed a commanding knowledge of the particles and forces that characterize the ordinary matter around us. At the same time, astrophysical and cosmological space observations have revealed that this picture of the universe is incomplete--that 95 percent of the cosmos is not made of ordinary matter, but of a mysterious something else: dark matter and dark energy. We have learned that in fact we do not know what most of the universe is made of.
Understanding this unknown “ new ” universe requires the discovery of the particle physics that determines its fundamental nature. Energies at particle accelerators now approach the conditions in the first instants after the big bang, giving us the means to discover what dark matter and dark energy are--and creating a revolution in our understanding of particle physics and the universe.
To answer the fundamental questions about the nature of the universe, astrophysical observations of the relics of the big bang must agree with data from physics experiments recreating the particles and forces of the early universe. The two ends of the exploration must meet.
Particle physicists have developed a set of nine questions about the universe. The muon collider would help to answer them.