The DPG section Particle Physics was founded as early as in 1951 and has presently over 2500 members.
Particle physics studies the elementary constituents of matter and the fundamental forces acting between them. The present knowledge in this field is - today in a conceptually satisfactory form - described by the so-called standard model (SM) of particle physics. With this, a largely consistent theory of the fundamental contituents and interactions in nature has been developped - let alone gravitation.
The invention of this theory from experimental results and theoretical concepts is one of the major epistemological steps of the 20th century. Although many aspects of the SM have been checked and confirmed by experiment, essential points are still missing. Moreover, we are now convinced that the standard model is far from being complete. It is an important step to a deeper and more correct description of nature.
Particle physics deals with a multitude of theoretical as well as experimental questions. Included are e.g. the question of neutrino masses and -mixing, the measurement of all quark mixing parameters, CP-violation in the heavy quark domain, the search for the Higgs particle and more generally the mechanism of particle mass generation, the search for higher symmetries (especially supersymmetry), quantum gravitation and many more.
The aim of particle physics is the understanding of the smallest structures of the world. In pursuing this aim, particle physics has become simultaneously an important foundation for the theoretical understanding of the formation and development of the universe. Particle physics is a prototype of a fundamental science.