Heavy Ion Physics

Heavy Ion Physics
 

Greene
Victoria GreeneMaguire
Charlie Maguire

Reconstructing the Big Bang There is considerable theoretical evidence to support the idea that when ordinary nuclear matter is heated or compressed to extraordinary temperatures and pressures, the protons and neutrons which make up atomic nuclei will melt into their constituent quarks and gluons. The nuclear matter thus undergoes a phase transition to the quark-gluon plasma, or QGP. The universe is postulated to have existed in this deconfined phase of matter for the first few microseconds after the Big Bang.Profs. Greene and Maguire are collaborating on a series of experiments that intend to recreate and investigate this phase transition in the laboratory by colliding heavy ions at ultra-relativistic energies. The Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), which is in operation now at Brookhaven National Laboratory, offers the best opportunity to achieve this goal. RHIC experiments are generating huge data sets (thousands of Terabytes, where 1 Terabyte = 1000 Gigabytes). Finding a signature for the QGP in this data requires substantial computing for both data analysis and simulation.
Links:
Prof. Victoria Greene’s Page
Prof. Charlie Maguire’s Page
Vanderbilt Experimental Relativistic Heavy Ion Physics Group
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