Department of Physics

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Exploring the Mysteries of the Quark-Gluon Plasma and the Birth of the Universe

Nov 6, 2013

Speaker: Dr. John Hill
Date: Friday, November 15, 2013
Time: 4 PM
Room: 205 Currens Hall

Exploring the Mysteries of the Quark-Gluon Plasma and the Birth of the Universe


It is postulated that a microsecond after the birth of the universe in the "Big Bang" matter existed in a deconfined state of quarks and gluons called the quark-gluon plasma (QGP). A strongly coupled version of the QGP (sQGP) has been created at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) using collisions of 100 GeV/A Au nuclei. After an introduction to the concept of the QGP I will discuss how it is produced at RHIC and studied with the PHENIX detector. I will first concentrate on the evidence that it is actually the QGP followed by data showing it to flow like a liquid rather than a hot gas. Then I will present measurements of the temperature of the plasma. In addition I will compare PHENIX results with recent data from the heavy ion program at the LHC. If time is left I will discuss future projects planned by our group at Iowa State for PHENIX.

About the speaker:
Prof. John Hill received his PhD in nuclear physics from Purdue University. After a postdoc at the University of Michigan and an assistant professorship at Texas A&M University he moved to the Physics Department of Iowa State University. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and is the P.I. for the Experimental Nuclear Physics Program at Iowa State that is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy. His early work was in low energy nuclear physics on the decay of neutron-rich nuclei. His program evolved to the present that involves the study of the interaction of relativistic heavy ions to produce hot dense nuclear matter.

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