What is KEK?

All matter comprises atoms and molecules formed by the bonding of atoms. An atom is made of a nucleus and electrons, a nucleus is made of protons and neutrons, and protons and neutrons are made of quarks, a type of elementary particle.

Research into these types of elementary particles and nuclei is an important area of fundamental science, and research into elementary particles illuminates the mysteries of the universe right after its beginning. Clarification of structures and functions of matter at the molecular level is an important area of material science and is essential for the development of practical materials such as battery-related compounds and for drug discovery and other applications.

Accelerators make these types of studies possible. An accelerator is an apparatus that speeds up tiny particles such as electrons and protons nearly to the speed of light, to create high-energy conditions. This leads to the discovery of elementary particles that can be produced only under such extreme conditions. Synchrotron radiation and the beams of neutrons, muons (μ particles), and positrons obtained using accelerators are important also for studying the properties of matter.

KEK has been on the cutting edge of developing high-performance accelerators and detectors with the highest resolutions in space and time. We are also collaborating with industry to develop in the fields of electricity, radiation, machinery, measuring instruments, computers and materials.

  1. Contributing to the expansion of the intellectual assets of humanity
    KEK explores the laws of nature and the basic structure of materials, and contributes to the expansion of the intellectual assets of humanity. We promote experimental and theoretical research into the structure and function of elementary particles, nuclei, materials, and life using high-energy accelerators.
  2. An Inter-University Research Institute Corporation
    KEK conducts collaborative studies with researchers both in Japan and abroad. We also provide a venue for collaboration, support advanced education and research at universities, and help develop cutting-edge research in accelerator science and research in related fields.
  3. An international research agency open to the world
    KEK actively promotes international collaborative research. We emphasize coordination and cooperation with overseas research institutes, and serve as a hub for accelerator science in the Asia-Oceania region as one of the world’s three major bases.
  4. Promoting educational cooperation and human resource development
    As a founding organization of the Graduate University for Advanced Studies (SOKENDAI), KEK trains human resources who will promote accelerator science and develop related cutting-edge research fields. We also provide education cooperation to graduate schools and other institutes to cultivate human resources in the accelerator science field.

Updated 2024/03/14