From Brookhaven Lab: “Brewing the World’s Hottest Guinness”

Brookhaven Lab

June 25, 2012
Justin Eure

Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) smashes particles together to recreate the incredible conditions that only existed at the dawn of time. The 2.4-mile underground atomic “racetrack” at RHIC produces fundamental insights about the laws underlying all visible matter. But along the way, its particles also smashed a world record.

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Protons, neutrons melt to produce ‘quark-gluon plasma’ at RHIC (no image credit)

Guinness World Records, no longer encumbered by “book of,” recognized Brookhaven Lab for achieving the “Highest Man-Made Temperature.” When RHIC collides gold ions at nearly the speed of light, the impact energy becomes so intense that the neutrons and protons inside the gold nuclei “melt,” releasing fundamental quarks and gluons that then form a nearly friction-free primordial plasma that only existed in Nature about a millionth of one second after the Big Bang. RHIC discovered this primordial, liquid-like quark-gluon plasma and measured its temperature at around 4 trillion degrees Celsius – that’s 250,000 times hotter than the center of the sun.

‘There are many cool things about this ultra-hot matter,’ said physicist Steven Vigdor, who leads Brookhaven’s nuclear and particle physics program. ‘We expected to reach these temperatures – that is, after all, why RHIC was built – but we did not at all anticipate the nearly perfect liquid behavior.'”

Cool video from the article.

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One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.