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Video of the week - RHIC's hot quark soup

Video of the week - RHIC’s hot quark soup

Earlier this month, two separate groups of scientists at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider announced new results.

For the first result, scientists rolled back the clock to measure the temperature in the first instants of the formation of a quark-gluon plasma “soup.” They found that at that instant, the temperature is a whopping four trillion degrees. To put things in perspective, the temperature at the sun’s core is a mere 15 million degrees Kelvin, while the temperature at the core of a collapsed Type II supernova is only 100 billion degrees.

The second group of scientists discovered that, in the magnetic field induced by the accelerator’s colliding charged particles and the vortices that form in the resulting quark-gluon soup, positively charged quarks tend to move in one direction, and negatively charged quarks in the other. That makes it an example of asymmetry, an asymmetry that could give physicists clues as to why matter, rather than antimatter, is more dominant in our universe.

RHIC and ATLAS share the computing facilities at the RHIC and ATLAS Computing Facility at Brookhaven National Laboratory. The facility was originally established for use by RHIC; when Brookhaven was selected for an ATLAS Tier 1 site, ATLAS leveraged the existing facilities at RHIC. Both ATLAS and one of RHIC’s detector groups, STAR, are part of Open Science Grid.

Today, the facility boasts well over 10,000 cores and 8 petabytes online disk storage, accessed by 3500 users worldwide.

Watch the Hot Quark Soup video to see animations that illustrate the science behind RHIC’s new discoveries!

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