Overview: Fundamentals of Nature
With its unique collection of large research facilities, the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI offers incomparable opportunities for highly precise and detailed insights into the fundamental principles of both animate and inanimate matter.
The world that surrounds us is composed of atoms. But these are far from being the smallest building blocks of matter, since atoms are in turn composed of even smaller particles. These are the particular focus of interest for scientists working in the area of Fundamentals of Nature at the Paul Scherrer Institute.
Researchers in the Laboratory for Particle Physics, for example, are investigating the composition and properties of elementary particles, thus focusing on the fundamental issue of the basic building blocks for our world. They use their findings to question existing models of physics and try to close the remaining gaps in our knowledge.
The focus of research into fundamental biological issues is on clarifying the structure and function of proteins – biomolecules which control the behaviour of living cells in a wide variety of ways. To study protein structures, researchers at PSI not only use traditional biochemical and biophysical methods, but also synchrotron light provided by the Swiss Light Source SLS at PSI. They have developed beamlines specifically tailored to the analysis of biomolecules.