Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists may have succeeded in reproducing matter as it first appeared after the Big Bang

13.06.2003


Multi-National team of physicists include Weizmann Institute Scientists



Recent results of a joint experiment conducted by 460 physicists from 57 research institutions in 12 countries strongly indicate that the scientists have succeeded in reproducing matter as it first appeared in the universe; this matter is called the quark-gluon plasma. The experiment, called PHENIX and conducted at the Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, New York, has brought together physicists from Brazil, China, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Russia, Sweden and the United States. The Israeli team is led by Prof. Itzhak Tserruya, head of the Weizmann Institute’s Particle Physics Department. Tserruya and his colleagues have designed and built unique particle detectors that are a central part of PHENIX’s detecting system.

In the first millionth of a second after the Big Bang, the atoms of different elements as we know them today did not yet exist. The main components of atoms, protons and neutrons, had not yet been "born" either. The jets of blazing matter that dispersed in all directions in the first few fractions of a second in the existence of the universe contained a mixture of free quarks and gluons, called the quark-gluon plasma. Later on, when the universe cooled down a bit and became less dense, the quarks and gluons got "organized" into various combinations that created more complex particles, such as the protons and neutrons. Since then, in fact, quarks or gluons have not existed as free particles in the universe.


Scientists studying the unique physical properties of the quark-gluon plasma have been trying to recreate this primordial matter using an accelerator, called RHIC, built especially for this purpose at the Brookhaven National Laboratory. This accelerator creates two beams of gold ions and accelerates them one towards the other, causing a head-on collision. The power of the collisions (about 40 trillion electron volts, also termed 40 tera electron volts) turns part of the beams’ kinetic energy into heat, while the other part of the energy turns into various particles (a process described by Einstein’s well-known equation E=mc2). The first stage in the creation of these new particles, like the first stage of the creation of matter in the Big Bang, is assumed to be the stage of the quark-gluon plasma.

One of the ways to identify the quark-gluon plasma is to observe the behavior of particles entering the plasma. When a single quark propagates through regular matter (containing protons and neutrons), it emits radiation that slows down its progress somewhat. In contrast, when it enters a very dense medium like quark-gluon plasma, it will slow down much more. That’s precisely the phenomenon that has recently been observed and analyzed in the PHENIX experiment. According to the physicists taking part in the experiment, these findings could indicate that they have succeeded in creating the quark-gluon plasma.

The detectors designed and built by Prof. Tserruya are capable of providing three-dimensional information on the precise location of the particles ejected from the collision area. These particles’ direction, together with their energy and identity, help distinguish the matter’s properties in the collision area. Apart from Prof. Tserruya, the Weizmann team that designed and built the detectors included Prof. Zeev Fraenkel, Dr. Ilia Ravinovich, postdoctoral fellow Dr. Wei Xie and graduate students Alexandre Kozlov, Alexander Milov and Alexander Cherlin.

Prof. Tserruya’s research is supported by Nella and Leon Benoziyo Center for High Energy Physics.

Prof. Tserruya is the incumbent of the Samuel Sebba Professorial Chair of Pure and Applied Physics.


The Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, is one of the world’s top-ranking multidisciplinary research institutions. Noted for its wide-ranging exploration of the natural and exact sciences, the Institute is home to 2,500 scientists, students, technicians and supporting staff. Institute research efforts include the search for new ways of fighting disease and hunger, examining leading questions in mathematics and computer science, probing the physics of matter and the universe, creating novel materials and developing new strategies for protecting the environment

Alex Smith | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.weizmann.ac.il/

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht New type of smart windows use liquid to switch from clear to reflective
14.12.2017 | The Optical Society

nachricht New ultra-thin diamond membrane is a radiobiologist's best friend
14.12.2017 | American Institute of Physics

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Plasmonic biosensors enable development of new easy-to-use health tests

14.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

New type of smart windows use liquid to switch from clear to reflective

14.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

BigH1 -- The key histone for male fertility

14.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>