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Physics Colloquium: Probing the Quark Gluon Plasma

Monday, 25 September, 2017

High energy collisions of heavy nuclei permit the study of nuclear matter at high temperatures and energy densities. At energy densities above about 1 GeV/fm^3 QCD predicts a phase transition in nuclear matter to a plasma of quarks and gluons. This matter, called a Quark Gluon Plasma (QGP), has different properties from normal nuclear matter due to its high temperature and density. Measurements at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) on Long Island and the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Geneva allow studies of nucleus-nucleus collisions over two orders of magnitude in center of mass energy. Hard parton scatterings lead to back-to-back jets, the collimated sprays of particles formed from a quark or gluon. These jets are ideal probes of the QGP and studies of their interactions with the medium can be used to constrain its properties.    




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