Particle physics and astrophysics

Research is done in a continuum of fields from experimental and theoretical particle physics through theoretical and observational cosmology, astrophysics, and solar system physics to space physics involving solar activity and its consequences in the solar system.

Connections are tight with the Helsinki Institute of Physics (HIP) in the research of particle physics and cosmology. In experimental particle physics PAP and HIP operate a joint Detector Laboratory. Astronomy and space physics research is conducted within the joint Kumpula Space Centre with the Finnish Meteorological Institute and the School of Electrical Engineering of Aalto University.

We participate in particle physics experiments at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland and in the European Space Agency (ESA) satellite missions for cosmological observations. A number of Finnish summer students at CERN were supervised by Helsinki CMS team members. For our astronomers the telescopes of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile, the space-borne observing facilities ESA, and the Nordic Optical Telescope (NOT) in La Palma are the key sources of data. The ESO-related research is conducted in close co-operation with the Finnish Centre for Astronomy with ESO (FINCA).

In 2015 two tenure track professors started in PAP, Mikko Voutilainen in experimental particle physics and Emilia Kilpua in space science. The personnel of PAP received several recognitions during the year. University Lecturer Kimmo Tuominen was awarded the prize “Good Teacher – Magister Bonus” by the Helsinki University Student Union. Mikko Voutilainen received the 2015 Wu-Ki Tung Award for Early Career Research on QCD for “For outstanding contributions to the development of innovative techniques for jet energy calibration and the measurement of the inclusive jet cross section at the D-Zero and CMS experiments". MSc. (Tech.) Juska Pekkanen was awarded the 2015 Fundamental Physics Special Recognition Award by the CMS spokepersons Joseph Incandela and Tiziano Camporesi. Professor Hannu Koskinen was awarded knighthood, First Class, of the Order of the White Rose of Finland, and University Lecturer Hannu Kurki-Suonio was awarded knighthood of the Order of the White Rose of Finland.

Experimental particle physics

Theoretical particle physics and cosmology

Observational cosmology


Planetary science

Space physics

Detector laboratory

Some highlights of research