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September 26, 2013

Heavy-ion Collision Producing Quark-gluon Plasma

An artistic conception of a heavy-ion collision producing quark-gluon plasma. Using TeraGrid resources, a group of scientists calculated key properties of quark-gluon plasma at a resolution previously unattainable.

Immediately after the big bang, the early universe had no stars, planets or galaxies that we see today. Instead, it began as a hot plasma mixture of quarks and gluons that eventually cooled and condensed into the protons and neutrons that formed the heavenly bodies we are so familiar with.

Physicists at CERN (the European Center for Nuclear Research) are conducting experiments involving collisions of heavy nuclei to temporarily recreate that primordial quark-gluon plasma and see how it may have cooled and condensed. [Research supported by National Science Foundation grants PHY 04-56556, PHY 05-55235, PHY 04-56691, PHY 05-55243, PHY 06-09852, PHY 05-55234 and PHY 05-55397.] (Date of Image: June 2008)

Credit: This image is reproduced with permission from the press office at CERN (European Center for Nuclear Research), Geneva, Switzerland

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