Department of Physics Colloquium, Frank Geurts, Rice University. Refreshments at 3:30pm.
Abstract: About a decade ago, using highly energetic collisions between heavy ions, researchers at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (BNL) observed a very hot and dense state of nuclear matter called the Quark-Gluon Plasma. In essence, similar such conditions are thought to have existed shortly after the Big Bang. However, instead of a hot gas, heavy-ion collisions appear to produce a liquid with almost no viscosity, a perfect liquid. Recently, the first phase of an ambitious beam-energy scan program at RHIC has been completed.
Its results will help improve our understanding of the phase diagram of nuclear matter. In this presentation I will review what let us to the 2005 observation, and show how our "map" of nuclear matter has further developed since then.