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Colloquium: Creating the hottest matter in the universe with nuclear collisions at the CERN Large Hadron Collider

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Dennis Perepelitsa, Brookhaven National Laboratory
When
04 February 2016 from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Where
117 Osmond Laboratory
Contact Name
Mark Strikman
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The CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is one of the premier facilities for high-energy experimental physics in the world — it is where the Higgs boson was discovered and where searches for new physics beyond the Standard Model continue. The LHC is also the host of a vibrant experimental nuclear physics program which studies the consequences of smashing large nuclei together at very nearly the speed of light. When these nuclei collide, the resulting temperature and energy density are so large that the nuclear system undergoes a phase transition into an exotic form of matter. Subatomic quarks and gluon particles, normally confined inside the nuclei, become free and burst outward in an expanding, flowing fireball called a “quark-gluon plasma” — a type of matter which dominated the universe in the first microsecond of its existence after the Big Bang. Studying the remarkable properties of this plasma allows scientists to learn about the strong nuclear force in extreme, novel regimes. Since the first lead-lead nucleus collisions in late 2010, a rich experimental program with the large, state-of-the-art detectors at the LHC has developed. In this talk, I will introduce the goals and experimental methods of ultra-relativistic nuclear physics at the LHC.

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