There are corridors at CERN lined with wooden doors and rusted metal cabinets, where aged, peeling leaflets for long-a-go conferences paper the walls next to comic strips and photos.
Known at CERN as ‘the Theory corridor’, this is the home at CERN for some of the world’s most brilliant minds.
Behind these heavy wooden doors, theoreticians are using equations, computer modelling and logic to try and understand the underlying laws of our universe. Here ideas, such as supersymmetry, are born, often decades before technology and experiments can provide the evidence to back those ideas up.
Theoreticians are an integral part of particle physics, providing experimentalists with a background to their research. Their work has always been a starting point for CERN physics – the "Group of Theoretical Studies" was created even before a location had been determined for CERN itself – showing physicists what and where they should be looking for the next discovery.
Over the coming weeks, the "In Theory" series will introduce you to the Theory department and give you a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what life is like for some of the individuals within it.
Over the next six weeks the In Theory series will publish a new article weekly on a different aspect of the Theory department, starting next week with what makes a theoretical physicist, read the other articles and photoessays in the series here.