Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sand Could Shed Light On Quark-Gluon Plasma?

Like I've said many times before, you just never know when the most fundamental understanding in physics could come from. Who would have thought that shooting sand at a target would give you insight into the quark-gluon plasma that was thought to be present close to the Big Bang? But there it is!

Furthermore, Nagel and colleagues believe that this liquid-like behaviour of colliding particles has been seen before -- at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory in the US. Two years ago, researchers at the RHIC smashed together pairs of gold nuclei to create multi-particle “quark-gluon plasma”. Such a plasma is believed to be present in the early Universe – just before it has cooled enough for quarks and gluons to combine and form protons and neutrons.

Just as Peter Higgs found the inspiration for the Higgs mechanism from condensed matter, you just never know when the next source of inspiration in physics would come from.


No comments: