The Helsinki Institute of Physics is a physics research institute that is operated jointly by the University of Helsinki, Aalto University, the University of Jyväskylä, the Lappeenranta University of Technology, and the Tampere University of Technology. The research activity at the institute covers an extensive range of subjects in theoretical physics and experimental subatomic physics. The mandate of the institute is to carry out and facilitate research in basic and applied physics as well as in physics research and technology development at international accelerator laboratories. The institute is responsible for the Finnish research collaboration with CERN.
The legislation, by which the Institute was founded, was passed by the Finnish Parliament in summer 1996 and operations began on September 1 of the same year. The foundation for the Institute was provided by the three previous Helsinki-based institutes: SEFT, TFT and HTI, which were merged into the new organization. The project oriented theoretical physics programme of the institute places strong emphasis on areas of current interest, including cosmophysics, particle matter phenomenology, low-dimensional quantum systems and radiation hardness of accelerator materials.
The HIP research in experimental subatomic physics at CERN falls into three research programmes. The CMS programme participates in the research of the CMS detector at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) experimental collaboration. The programme, in addition, develops radiation hardened silicon detectors for the subsequent high luminosity phase of the experiment.
The high energy physics programme participates in the TOTEM experiment for forward physics at the LHC. In addition, the programme studies top-quark physics at the CDF-II detector at the Tevatron collider at the Fermi National Accelerator laboratory. Finally the programme is engaged in technology development for the future CERN Linear Collider.
The nuclear matter programme participates in the experimental research with the ALICE detector at the LHC collider and carries nuclear physics research at the ISOLDE facility at CERN. In line with the Finnish CERN strategy the basic research of HIP is carried out as a multifaceted activity that covers the different subfields of experimental subatomic physics.
The technology programme of the institute develops and applies CERN related technology innovations. The programme participates in the development of grid computation for scientific research and technological applications and green energy saving computation methods.
HIP is engaged in the CLOUD experiment at CERN, which simulates the conditions in the upper atmosphere and studies the effect of energetic cosmic rays in such conditions.
HIP and the participating partner university institutions together maintain a strong research infrastructure in Finland. To support the experimental research programmes HIP operates in Helsinki a detector laboratory jointly with the Department of Physical Sciences of the University of Helsinki.
HIP arranges continuing education sessions for high school teachers and study visits for Finnish high school students at CERN.
In 2004 the institute was given the responsibility for planning the Finnish activities at the Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research FAIR that will be constructed in Darmstadt.