Quark Gluon Plasma: From Particles to Fields?

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Date/Time:Monday, 12 Apr 2010 from 4:10 pm to 5:10 pm
Location:Physics, room 5
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Barbara Jacak (Stony Brook University)

Quantum chromodynamics predicts melting of hadrons into a plasma of quarks and gluons at high temperature and/or density. High energy collisions of heavy ions at RHIC create matter at a temperature above 300 MeV, which is too hot for normal hadrons to exist. This matter is found to have some surprising properties. It flows as a perfect, exceedingly opaque liquid. It appears to be strongly coupled, flowing in a similar way as cold dense atoms, with phases similar to some condensed matter systems and dense electromagnetic plasmas. Quantitative reproduction of the observed properties presents a major challenge to perturbative QCD. New theoretical and experimental approaches are underway to understand the screening, correlations, fluctuations, and underlying degrees of freedom in strongly coupled QCD matter.