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Physics Colloquium: "Unlocking the secret life of quarks"

Event Type
Department of Physics
wifi event
Sep 8, 2021   4:00 pm   5:00 pm
Jaki Noronha-Hostler
Marjorie Gamel
Originating Calendar
Physics - Colloquium

The strongest fundamental force of nature generates ~96% of the mass of the visible universe and binds together the building blocks of quantum chromodynamics, quarks and gluons, within the proton.  At temperatures of a few trillion Kelvin these quarks and gluons strongly interact in an exotic state of matter known as the quark-gluon plasma, which behaves as a nearly perfect liquid. Collider experiments have been smashing heavy-ions together at nearly the speed of light in order to produce tiny droplets of the quark-gluon plasma in the laboratory with a size of the order of trillionth cm. Over the past decade, the "standard model" of the quark-gluon plasma has emerged with the development of relativistic viscous hydrodynamics. While first principles lattice QCD calculations can demonstrate that the transition between quarks and hadrons is a cross-over at vanishing baryon densities, it has been hypothesized that a critical point exists at finite baryon densities. In order to search for the QCD critical point the standard model of heavy-ion collisions must be completely revised and relativistic viscous hydrodynamics simulations must be adapted to incorporate 3 conserved charges and critical fluctuations. In this talk I review the recent progress made in determining the existence and location of the QCD critical point. Synergy with the potential existence of quarks within the core of neutron stars is also discussed.

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