This is an exciting time in the scientific investigation of the universe and its constituents. The study of the very large has joined the study of the very small as a source of fundamental answers — and deep mysteries — in physics and astronomy.
On smallest scale, cosmic rays interact with Earth’s atmosphere at energies far exceeding what our particle accelerators can achieve. Yet we do not fully understand the mechanism of these accelerations — in gamma-ray bursts, supernovae, and various stellar remnants.
On the intermediate scale, white dwarf stars, neutron stars, and black holes tantalize us. These ultra-dense “compact objects” can produce jets of matter and energy that may be responsible for the ubiquitous cosmic rays, and are laboratories for other sorts of “extreme” physics.
On cosmic scales, we are deeply challenged by the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy. Dark matter binds the larger cosmic constituents — galaxies and galaxy clusters — while dark energy drives galaxies and clusters apart from one another with ever greater speed.
Finally, all these studies come together to inform our understanding of structure and evolution on the grandest scale. Exquisitely careful analysis of the microwave background reveals deep secrets of the early universe -- in the period just after the Big Bang.
KIPAC was founded in 2003 to explore these new fronts and challenges in astrophysics and cosmology. We bring the power of theory, computation, experiments and observations to bear on these questions. We are a broad community of more than 150 scientists with diverse interests in astrophysics and cosmology. Our efforts are organized as the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, or KIPAC, one of 19 independent laboratories, centers, and institutes of Stanford University. Initiated with a generous grant from Fred Kavli and The Kavli Foundation, KIPAC is housed at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and in the Physics & Astrophysics and Varian Physics buildings on the Stanford campus. The institute is funded in part by Stanford University and the United States Department of Energy.