March 6, Wednesday, 11:00 a.m. Bldg. 50-Auditorium
“Hot Matter at LHC”
Professor Gunther Roland (MIT)
In this talk I will discuss a very simple question: What are the properties of matter at extremely high temperature, in excess of several trillion Kelvin? Experiments at large particle colliders like RHIC at Brookhaven Lab and LHC at CERN have shown that such temperatures can be achieved in collisions of heavy nuclei, creating a plasma of quarks and gluons resembling the universe shortly after the Big Bang. We have found that this unique state of matter exhibits fascinating and somewhat surprising properties: Although its density exceeds that of water by 16 orders of magnitude, the quark-gluon plasma behaves like a near-perfect liquid. I will review the most striking observations made in recent LHC data and discuss unexpected connections to strongly coupled systems in other areas of physics, ranging from string theory to ultra-cold atoms.