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Quark-gluon plasma

  1. Jun 17, 2010 #1
    Lately, I've heard that the scientists at Brookhaven National Lab were able to create a collision between gold ions that generated 4 trillion degrees Celsius. They said that this amount of energy in the collision was more than enough, according to their calculations, to melt the nucleons into a plasma of quarks and gluons. Link: http://www.bnl.gov/rhic/news2/news.asp?a=1074&t=pr
    However, at CERN, they have a particle accelerator at 17 miles in circumference, much larger than the one at Brookhaven National Lab (2.4 miles in circumference.) So how come they didn't report similar news earlier, or maybe with the news of the 3.5 TeV particle collision lately?

    I'm fairly new at this subcategory of physics, so a discussion about this new discovery could hopefully benefit my knowledge on such science. Any ideas on this?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 17, 2010 #2


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    Quark-gluon plasma requires heavy ions; with nucleons not enough quarks are involved.
  4. Jun 18, 2010 #3
    I thought scientists at CERN fired lead ions? If lead is heavier than gold chemically, wouldn't it create a much greater temperature due to the collision of more quarks?
  5. Jun 18, 2010 #4

    Vanadium 50

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    Not in the LHC yet.
  6. Jun 18, 2010 #5
    The LHC right now concentrates on calibration and checking standard results. It is best done with cleaner events. Proton and heavy ions are both parts of the ultimate physics program.
  7. Jun 18, 2010 #6
    I see.

    Did the scientists at Brookhaven National Lab confirm the temperature of the collision event? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that they measured the wavelengths of the released particles and calculated the temperature from there.
  8. Jun 18, 2010 #7


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    yes, something like that;

    it's not straightforward to define a temperature; temperature means that we have thermodynamical equilibrium,whereas the qg-plasma state has of course a very short lifetime; so this is "on the edge"
  9. Jun 18, 2010 #8
    If QGP has a very short lifetime, why is it so significant to scientists? I've heard that some people think it leads to the Big Bang theory, but if this collision event really does recreate something similar to the Big Bang, how come it didn't expand tremendously into an entirely new universe? Also, how can it be possible to accelerate particles (maybe even nucleons at the very least) without the aid of man-made machines?
  10. Jun 18, 2010 #9


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    As for every high-energy experiment with the LHC we come a bit closer to the Big Bang, but not really close!

    The Tevatron has ~ 1TeV c.o.m. energy, the LHC will have 14TeV (both in hadron collisions, of course much higher for heavy ions). The Planck energy is ~1016 TeV. In addition the Big Bang is different as spacetime emerged from it, therefore the high energy density was realized in the hole (tiny) universe with Planck length ~ 10-35m. Today the tiny volume with QGP is surrounded by a gigantic (nearly empty) spacetime into which the plasma can expand, whereas after the Big bang the plasma could only expand by "creating new spacetime".
  11. Jun 18, 2010 #10
    If the experiments at the LHC and Brookhaven National Lab weren't even approaching the energies needed to replicate the Big Bang, what's the point of even initiating the experiment? Since these experiments deal with quantum particles, the scientists have to reach a specific amount of energy input on the particles in order to obtain a result similar to the Big Bang.
  12. Jun 18, 2010 #11


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    The answer is simple: the scientists do not want to study the big bang as they are aware of the fact that they are still some orders of magnitude away from it. Instead they want to study the standard model, especially the Higgs particle, perhaps physics beyond the standard model like SUSY, QGP etc.
  13. Jun 20, 2010 #12


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    I saw your post a few days ago, you may find these posts of interest, in jal's "perfect symmetery" thread. This has to do with BNL's findings concerning quark-gluon-plasma. See what you think. Starting with https://www.physicsforums.com/showpost.php?p=2582244&postcount=89", consisting in part of quark-gluon-plasma. Plenty to think about, enjoy and welcome to PF.


    P.S. I just read your response in post #6. See jal's response in https://www.physicsforums.com/showpost.php?p=2588442&postcount=92" about half way down the page. A good explanation of how the temperature was calculated:
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