Monday, February 15, 2010

Hot Quark Soup Produced at RHIC

A rather neat simulation and explanation of what they are looking at at RHIC. Here's the brief explanation that came with the video:

The Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) is a 2.4-mile-circumference particle accelerator/collider that has been operating at Brookhaven Lab since 2000, delivering collisions of heavy ions, protons, and other particles to an international team of physicists investigating the basic structure and fundamental forces of matter. In 2005, RHIC physicists announced that the matter created in RHICs most energetic collisions behaves like a nearly perfect liquid in that it has extraordinarily low viscosity, or resistance to flow. Since then, the scientists have been taking a closer look at this remarkable form of matter, which last existed some 13 billion years ago, a mere fraction of a second after the Big Bang. Scientists have revelaed new findings, including the first measurement of temperature very early in the collision events, and their implications for the nature of this early-universe matter.

Edit: here's a news article on this from Reuters, and another from the NY Times.

The departure from normal physics manifested itself in the apparent ability of the briefly freed quarks to tell right from left. That breaks one of the fundamental laws of nature, known as parity, which requires that the laws of physics remain unchanged if we view nature in a mirror.


1 comment:

Kent Leung said...

Hmmm one should really change "That breaks one of the fundamental laws of nature..." to:

"That breaks one of OUR fundamental ASSUMPTIONS about nature..."

A law is just empirical and since P-violation has already been observed the law has changed.