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Title: The Smallest Drops of the Hottest Matter? New Investigations at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (493rd Brookhaven Lecture)

Pool sharks at the billiards hall know that sometimes you aim to rocket the cue ball for a head-on collision, and other times, a mere glance will do. Physicists need to know more than a thing or two about collision geometry too, as they sift through data from the billions of ions that smash together at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC). Determining whether ions crash head-on or just glance is crucial for the physicists analyzing data to study quark-gluon plasma—the ultra-hot, "perfect" liquid of quarks and gluons that existed more than 13 billion years ago, before the first protons and neutrons formed. For these physicists, collision geometry data provides insights about quark-gluon plasma's extremely low viscosity and other unusual properties, which are essential for understanding more about the "strong force" that holds together the nucleus, protons, and neutrons of every atom in the universe. Dr. Sickles explains how physicists use data collected at house-sized detectors like PHENIX and STAR to determine what happens before, during, and after individual particle collisions among billions at RHIC. She also explains how the ability to collide different "species" of nuclei at RHIC—including protons and gold ions today and possibly more with a proposedmore » future electron-ion collider upgrade (eRHIC)—enables physicists to probe deeper into the mysteries of quark-gluon plasma and the strong force.« less
  1. BNL Physics Department
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Resource Relation:
Conference: Brookhaven Lecture Series: 1960 - Present, Lecture presented at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, New York (United States) on March 19, 2014
Research Org:
BNL (Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Upton, NY (United States))
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States