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  (Source: Sprouting Sprouts)

A visualization shows the quark gluon plasma "soup" created at the Brookhaven National Laboratory. The soup reaches temperatures that are as hot as the big bang, melting protons and neturons.  (Source: BNL via YouTube)

Vortices were also observed, a part of a phenomena known as "symmetry-breaking" that runs counter to the traditional laws of physics. (Apparently you CAN change the laws of physics!)  (Source: BNL via YouTube)
Conditions have likely not been seen in the last 13.7 billion years

While the Large Hadron Collider's record setting performance in particle collisions is certainly impressive, it's important not to forget about the important contributions that particle physics centers here in the United States are still making.  Fermilab (Batavia, Illinois) was the previous record holder of the highest energy collision and still has a shot at beating the LHC at finding the Higgs boson. 

Another key lab is the Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), home to the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), a slightly different type of collider that impacts larger particles.  Despite being grossly underfunded, both the Brookhaven NL and Fermilab had both offered stunning research contributions in recent years.

Now BNL can add one more to the list -- achieving temperatures likely not seen since the Big Bang.  The lab produced temperatures of 4 trillion degrees Celsius, 250,000 times hotter than the Sun's interior, during collisions of gold atoms hurtling at almost the speed of light.  To give another benchmark, the collision produced internal heat approximately 40 times that at the center of an imploding supernova star.

The collisions produced a stunning "soup" of quarks and gluons.  The analyzed data indicates that record high temperature caused the protons and neutrons of the gold atoms to "melt" into the quarks and gluons that compose them, which then formed a plasma, known as quark gluon plasma (QGP).  This appears to be the first time man has been able to make such a quark soup.

Dr. William F. Brinkman, Director of the DOE Office of Science, states that the results are amazing.  He comments, "This research offers significant insight into the fundamental structure of matter and the early universe, highlighting the merits of long-term investment in large-scale, basic research programs at our national laboratories.  I commend the careful approach RHIC scientists have used to gather detailed evidence for their claim of creating a truly remarkable new form of matter."

The researchers measured the temperature of the QGP using color and light-based heat analysis techniques, the advanced derivatives of similar techniques used in industrial applications.  And there were surprises. 

States Steven Vigdor, Brookhaven’s Associate Laboratory Director for Nuclear and Particle Physics, "The temperature inferred from these new measurements at RHIC is considerably higher than the long-established maximum possible temperature attainable without the liberation of quarks and gluons from their normal confinement inside individual protons and neutrons.  However, the quarks and gluons in the matter we see at RHIC behave much more cooperatively than the independent particles initially predicted for QGP."

The biggest challenge in the research, perhaps, was convincing skeptics in the research field that the quark soup was real.  Previously, physicists had predicted that it would have a gas-like form, but results from the BNL, starting in 2005, suggested it was actually a remarkable liquid with no frictional resistance or viscosity. 

The verifications was very challenging; whereas the QGP existed for microseconds after the Big Bang, in the lab it existed for a mere billionth of a trillionth of a second (10^-21 s).  In order to detect what happened in that sliver of time, researchers had to capture the handful of high-energy photons that were thrown off and told exactly how hot the mix got.  The results seem to conclusively indicate that the QGP is indeed a liquid, at least at some temperatures.

Another interesting result was the "symmetry-breaking" behavior observed in the collision bubbles.  In fundamental terms, the phenomena involves the charged particles immersed in the powerful magnetic field within the bubbles moving in directions opposite to what is seen in today's universe.

The results are published in two papers appearing in the journal Physical Review Letters [1] [2].

Following the success, the researchers plan to within a year or two upgrade the RHIC to improve its collision rate and detector capabilities.  Better collisions could reveal other exotic particles like Higgs bosons or their theoretical alternative preons (point particles that some have theorized make up quarks and gluons.

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Has anyone checked yet...
By Motoman on 2/16/2010 12:14:03 PM , Rating: 1
...whether or not they created a black hole that destroyed the Earth? We should sue them if they did. Because then we won't get to watch Caprica anymore.

RE: Has anyone checked yet...
By Regected on 2/16/2010 12:52:16 PM , Rating: 2
Gotta love the alarmist cries of the uninformed skeptic. It is really sad that those without any experience in the field get more credibility with the media since their claims draw more viewers.

RE: Has anyone checked yet...
By Motoman on 2/16/2010 1:53:59 PM , Rating: 2
But the raving lunatic who wants to sue the LHC because he's convinced it will destroy the world is a *story*.

The fact that the LHC is going to do no such thing...well, isn't a story.

RE: Has anyone checked yet...
By MrBlastman on 2/17/2010 3:18:02 PM , Rating: 2
On something more realistic... I wonder if this quark soup can reform to create a different element completely, or, better yet, change the element of gold that was used in this experiment into a compound of several elements.

After all, the protons and neutrons are being stirred up as their base particles and then come back together, perhaps quite differently--or not?

RE: Has anyone checked yet...
By Motoman on 2/18/2010 11:59:07 AM , Rating: 2
...while it's possible that we may yet detect new elements, it would seem to be rather unlikely. We'll see lots of wacky stuff, like Bose-Einstein condensates and such, but those aren't elements. Don't expect any alchemy in here.

RE: Has anyone checked yet...
By mattclary on 2/16/2010 2:00:41 PM , Rating: 2
He wasn't being an "alarmist", just "a lamer trying to use really worn out material to be funny".

RE: Has anyone checked yet...
By MadMan007 on 2/16/2010 2:16:19 PM , Rating: 2
Appeal to emotions is one of the hallmarks of uninformed science-haters.

RE: Has anyone checked yet...
By Smilin on 2/16/2010 2:19:47 PM , Rating: 3
Sense of humor, get some.

RE: Has anyone checked yet...
By UNCjigga on 2/16/2010 3:16:43 PM , Rating: 2
I'm more interested in whether the Vulcans have initiated first contact yet. Seriously, wouldn't this feat qualify Earth's humans as intelligent life?

By Newspapercrane on 2/18/2010 11:32:18 AM , Rating: 2
Nope, just the warp drive. I'm still working on it though.

RE: Has anyone checked yet...
By TSS on 2/16/2010 12:54:30 PM , Rating: 2
Well acccording to this article, appearantly you don't get a black hole, just soup. With spicy meatballs.

scientific and yummy!

RE: Has anyone checked yet...
By Kibbles on 2/16/2010 1:08:16 PM , Rating: 3
Said soup will be extreme hot, suggest waiting a billionth of a trillionth of a second to cool.

RE: Has anyone checked yet...
By JediJeb on 2/16/2010 2:28:08 PM , Rating: 3
I hope McDonalds isn't selling any or someone is going to sue once they spill it in their lap.

RE: Has anyone checked yet...
By Omega215D on 2/16/2010 1:20:38 PM , Rating: 5
Quark: A profit can be had with this... soup as you call it.

Odo: Quaaark....

RE: Has anyone checked yet...
By amanojaku on 2/16/2010 2:21:08 PM , Rating: 1
Black holes? Wouldn't particle collisions create Little Bangs? That means we'd be playing God, or Intergalactic Sperm Bank. Either way, that's hot.

RE: Has anyone checked yet...
By rodrigu3 on 2/16/2010 1:58:52 PM , Rating: 1
Disclaimer: I know the above post was a joke.

Anyway, I don't know much about black hole formation, but doesn't one need a critical concentration of mass in order to form the gravitational force necessary for a black hole? It seems to me that since the protons, neutrons, and electrons melted into their respective fundamental elements that the critical level of mass concentration was not achieved for black hole formation.

RE: Has anyone checked yet...
By geddarkstorm on 2/16/2010 4:27:22 PM , Rating: 2
Not simply a critical concentration of mass, but a critical concentration per unit volume. That is, any amount of mass squeezed down to its Schwarzschild radius will become a black hole. For instance, if one compressed Earth into a 9mm radius object, it would then collapse into a black hole.

Of course, that'd be only a 9mm big black hole (peanut sized; aka the event horizon will only extend 9mm out from the singularity center point), and its gravitational pull would be no different than the Earth's right now (when at this distance away as from the Earth's center that we're currently at). It's the fact you now have Earth's gravity filling a peanut's volume of space instead of an Earth's volume of space, that allows gravitational singularity.

RE: Has anyone checked yet...
By Darkmatterx76 on 2/16/2010 5:10:14 PM , Rating: 2
Although if a big enough black hole DID form we might NOT know about it right away depending on our distance to it because of time dilation. (sp)

I was wondering 2 things.

1. If some of this stuff is spinning in the other direction does that make it a form of anti-matter?

2. If you could be placed in the exact center of our planet or an even larger planet mass (and survive) would the 360 degree mass cancel out all gravity making you feel weightless or would you feel 360 degrees of gravity pulling on your body outwardly?

RE: Has anyone checked yet...
By geddarkstorm on 2/16/2010 5:34:58 PM , Rating: 2
The Sun itself would only form a 4km black hole. We're talking about smashing atoms together, the size of a black hole they'd make is so ridiculously infinitesimal that even an electron would look unimaginably huge next to it. In fact, the rate at which a black hole evaporates into nothingness is inversely proportional to its size. The smaller the black hole, the faster it poofs away, radiating all that compressed mass out as Hawking's radiation. A black hole Earth wouldn't last very long, let alone black hole atoms.

1. Antimatter is composed of antiquarks. Equal in magnitude, opposite sign for some properties. An antielectron (positron) is a fermion particle just like quarks and neutrons are, not a baryon like protons and neutrons (which are made of fermions, in this case quarks). Positrons have the same spin as an electron (1/2, up or down), it's the charge sign that's changed. So the spinning isn't a form of antimatter, it's relating to the motion of normal quarks within an electron field. That is, they were moving against the direction they should have been moving, which is strange. But they were still normal quarks, not antiquarks, as far as it sounds like in the article.

2. I don't think you'd notice, as you'd have such a massive amount of mass crushing down on you. If somehow you could get rid of that mass, or be phased so it doesn't affect you, and sat at the center of the planet, then yes, you wouldn't feel gravity as there would be no force acting on you and pulling you anywhere.

RE: Has anyone checked yet...
By geddarkstorm on 2/16/2010 5:36:25 PM , Rating: 2
Err, by "electron field" I meant "magnetic field" ^^;

RE: Has anyone checked yet...
By geddarkstorm on 2/16/2010 5:40:35 PM , Rating: 2
And "just like quarks and neutrinos are", not neutrons >>

Yes, can you tell it's the end of the day and I want to go home?

RE: Has anyone checked yet...
By dark matter on 2/18/2010 4:24:47 AM , Rating: 2
You are quoting Hawkings theory on Black Hole Radiation as though it is fact and been proven rather than theoretical.

Perhaps you might want to speak to the people at CERN if you have proof of its validity as you would save them a lot of money and time.

Also I am sure Hawkins himself would be delighted to read your proof.

RE: Has anyone checked yet...
By Iketh on 2/17/2010 3:49:29 AM , Rating: 2
To answer the gravity question, yes you would have "360 degrees" of gravity pulling on you, but you wouldn't feel it. You'd just be weightless. Have to think of it as 360 degrees of gravity pulling on each atom in your body.

RE: Has anyone checked yet...
By popopo on 2/23/2010 10:26:15 AM , Rating: 2
Thanksgiving gifts... and Christmas gifts..

I hate to be the doubting Thomas but...
By KillerInTheRye on 2/16/2010 4:30:28 PM , Rating: 2
How could any current instrument or container handle that kind of heat without exploding, imploding, or melting? I do not know of any substance on earth that has that high of a melting point, do you?

RE: I hate to be the doubting Thomas but...
By geddarkstorm on 2/16/2010 4:36:53 PM , Rating: 2
They melted the very protons and neutrons. But, there's a wonderful thing called "magnetic containment". Besides, it was only two gold atoms worth of material, that isn't going to heat up very much stuff!

RE: I hate to be the doubting Thomas but...
By KillerInTheRye on 2/16/2010 4:39:02 PM , Rating: 2
So the heat is self contained in a magnetic field and cannot heat up anything around it through thermal transfer? How? And again, how do you measure it? My thermometer doesn't go up that high. Maybe it just interfered with their instruments and they trusted its readings, I'm just sayin'.

RE: I hate to be the doubting Thomas but...
By geddarkstorm on 2/16/2010 4:47:25 PM , Rating: 2
Because the heat is lost as photons :P. No convection, no conduction, just radiation. They measured the energy of the photons being radiated away as the "soup" cooled back down.

RE: I hate to be the doubting Thomas but...
By KillerInTheRye on 2/16/2010 4:54:19 PM , Rating: 2
Again, what tool can measure an amount that has never been seen or produced? How do you callibrate it? I can callibrate a scale for accuracy up to 1 pound, it doesn't mean that it is accurate up to 10 tons. I just do not understand these sort of declarations, I'm too simple minded I guess.

RE: I hate to be the doubting Thomas but...
By geddarkstorm on 2/16/2010 5:00:09 PM , Rating: 5
It isn't quite as esoteric as it sounds.

We can measure the energy of one photon by measuring its wavelength. Now, the energy (wavelength) of a photon radiated out from some material is going to relate in proportion to the heat energy content of that material -- since we are dealing with a kinetic collision and not a electromagnetic event. Calibration is as simple as just measuring known wavelengths such as visible light, through some spectral spread to get a sense of consistency.

Think of an electric stove top. As it heats up, to the point it's hot to the touch, its radiating a large amount of infrared photons. Now, as it gets even hotter, into the hundreds of degrees F, it starts to visibly glow. That is, there's so much energy, it's shifted the photon wavelengths to the visible spectrum. You don't want to touch the stove top now! As you get EVEN hotter, the visible colors head to yellow, and eventually you'll pass to UV and beyond. Supernovas are so hot, the give off gamma rays.

So, all they had to do was measure wavelength to get a sense of the heat content of the material. I'm sure that's not all they did either.

Still, these are good questions to ask; gotta learn somehow, and it's good to fact check with logic.

By KillerInTheRye on 2/16/2010 5:16:24 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks. I did not know that. Learn something new I guess.

RE: I hate to be the doubting Thomas but...
By uutorok on 2/16/2010 5:00:58 PM , Rating: 2
no magnetic on earth(or in the universe) is strong enough to hold those high energy particles within such a small space. and some particles created during the collision are charge-free and cannot feel the magnetic force.

Yes. there are only two gold atoms. may create thousands of particles when they collide. but that's a very very small number compare to, for example, 10^24 in a coffee cup.

By Iketh on 2/17/2010 3:28:43 AM , Rating: 2
black hole?

By uutorok on 2/16/2010 5:01:06 PM , Rating: 2
no magnetic on earth(or in the universe) is strong enough to hold those high energy particles within such a small space. and some particles created during the collision are charge-free and cannot feel the magnetic force.

Yes. there are only two gold atoms. may create thousands of particles when they collide. but that's a very very small number compare to, for example, 10^24 in a coffee cup.

By uutorok on 2/16/2010 4:53:30 PM , Rating: 2
they don't need to contain the hot soup. they do the measurements at the moment when the soup is created. the subatomic particles which make the soup will travel at/near the speed of light away from the point, where the collision happens and where they are created, through the detectors which measure the particles' paths. in a word, the soup evaporates almost instantaneously(~ trillionth of a second), and the measurements are done before that happens.

By ggordonliddy on 2/16/2010 10:10:38 PM , Rating: 2
They can't. It is just dust on the lens.

By 100001111110011110 on 2/17/2010 7:59:33 AM , Rating: 2

I love this stuff
By bhougha10 on 2/16/2010 3:51:56 PM , Rating: 1
I love how these people come to these conclusions. You see how they figured out the temperatures. Funny stuff.
what I heard was I need another 20 billion dollars so, I am going to feed you will a bunch of techy marketing terms.

People need to be very careful with what these government funded techy guys tell you. They don't create anything that can be sold to customers, so they just sell you a bunch of stuff to keep there government funding going.

RE: I love this stuff
By uutorok on 2/16/2010 4:25:08 PM , Rating: 1
marketing? Please don't comment on something you know very little or nothing. Seriously, you remind me of the tale of 'the Daemon and the Texan'.

RE: I love this stuff
By bhougha10 on 2/16/2010 7:07:37 PM , Rating: 1
Not trying to be a jerk, but most scientist talk about theory as if it is fact. Take a look at some of these comments if you don't believe me. Theory is not fact, so please put your disclaimer, that you are just theorizing.

Think I don't know what I am talking about. Think about this and this is a fact. Once a scientist has been taught a theory, it is so hard for them to think outside that theory that they will throw away evidence that is very obvious just to go along with that theory. That's conditioning that that's a fact.

Slap the speed of light (in this case, it might be almost twice the speed of light realitive to each other) into the equation to calculate the kinetic energy and you get something that is approaching infinity. Call that 4 trillion or call it a whatever you want. It's just an exciting number that doesn't mean much.

So were these super charged photons going faster then the speed of light. Since they used photons to calculate the temperature, you have to at least use the speed of light to make the caculation and that gives you infinity. What's the point here. Marketing. It's a nice big pretty number. Did they really calculate 4 Trillion degrees. I doubt it. You can't disprove it. So since they can just talk like it's fact now, they saw a few quarks and gluons while this whole thing happened to. How did they prove that, well cuss the temperature of the photons that go the speed of light anyway proves it.
Before I get an arrogant response, tell me where I am wrong. Do people talk about theory as fact or not?

RE: I love this stuff
By banthracis on 2/17/2010 9:35:46 AM , Rating: 2
Slap the speed of light (in this case, it might be almost twice the speed of light realitive to each other) into the equation to calculate the kinetic energy and you get something that is approaching infinity. Call that 4 trillion or call it a whatever you want. It's just an exciting number that doesn't mean much.

Ok, someone obviously never passed high school can't get anything to go twice the speed of light.

Second, as previously explained, the temperatures are not made up, they are actual temperature based on measurements using proven technology. Read the actual article if you want a full methods section.

Second, hate to break ti to you, but everything in modern technology was based upon a scientific discovery that had no immediate use at its time.
Electricity was originally nothing more than a interesting phenomenon, yet today our society can't survive without it.
When Watson and Crick first discovered the structure of DNA, people had the same attitude, yet today, it's uses are incredible, from medical advancements to catching criminals.
Just because you can't see any potential, or don't know enough to see it's potential, doesn't mean others down the road won't use these discoveries to change the world.

RE: I love this stuff
By bhougha10 on 2/17/2010 1:29:17 PM , Rating: 1
I have an electrical engineering degree from the third ranked college in the USA, I passed phsics just fine. Notice I said realitive to each other.
Tell me this, did you buy the two articals that this artical references or just take these "proven technology" without any question?
This proven Technology that you talk about, do we have equipment sensitive enough to detect and prove this gluon plasma "soup" was actual present? Or was this just a computer visualization of what they thought it might look like at this speed.
Do you question anything these people say, or take everything as gold and just keep handing them over money that could be used for useful things, like world hunger.

RE: I love this stuff
By Snow01 on 2/18/2010 12:48:16 AM , Rating: 2
I have an electrical engineering degree from the third ranked college in the USA, I passed phsics just fine. ...keep handing them over money that could be used for useful things, like world hunger. .

You passed physics, you just can't spell it. Ok. Article, not artical. And the more logical among us would not propose diverting money from research to something so cliche as ending world hunger. I hate to flame, but come on.

RE: I love this stuff
By sld on 2/18/2010 1:40:26 AM , Rating: 2
...and they say engineers can't do science. No offence. =D

Even high school kids know that photons travel at the speed of light in a vacuum (and a tiny bit slower in earth's atmosphere). Hence the scientists were not measuring the kinetic energies of the photons, they were measuring something else. As mentioned above by another poster, they were measuring frequencies. To get a temperature like 4 trillion degrees, the photons were probably very short wavelength gamma rays.

I don't know what instruments are used to capture gamma rays though. Any engineers here can tell us?

RE: I love this stuff
By camylarde on 2/18/2010 8:00:17 AM , Rating: 2
Ok, a bit of a higher degre sci-fi than this entire article - nuclear fusion. Almost limitless energy source compared to what we have now, and how the prospects are for not so far future.

With such cheap energy (hopefully) anything that seems not economical today CAN become highly profitable, OR higly supported venture. Like artifical food made of god knows what. At the end it may mean food for everyone. In abundance.

as clearly, the traditional farming methods do not yield quite enough so far. And if it does, it's in the places where we learnt to keep birth control in reasonable limits.

RE: I love this stuff
By Senju on 2/17/2010 10:41:10 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds good to me. :-)

Highest temp since the big bang??
By technoboy on 2/16/2010 6:07:29 PM , Rating: 3
I guess you're assuming that in the entire history of the universe, there has never been a life form as brilliant as humans?

RE: Highest temp since the big bang??
By hellokeith on 2/17/2010 12:55:52 AM , Rating: 2
There is zero evidence of intelligent life outside of earth. It's a sound scientific assumption to make then that we are the first to do it artificially.

RE: Highest temp since the big bang??
By Iketh on 2/17/2010 3:35:04 AM , Rating: 2
Oh stop. Im sure there is evidence, we're just too insignificant to find it yet. Actually, we're so insignificant that we're borderline non-exsistant.

By HostileEffect on 2/17/2010 2:53:14 PM , Rating: 2
I like being small and insignificant, few people notice me and thus few people bother me. :)

RE: Highest temp since the big bang??
By LRawz on 2/17/2010 3:33:36 PM , Rating: 2
As Carl Sagan said, ..."the absence of evidence is no evidence of absence...". (But he was talking about a deity, I think...)

RE: Highest temp since the big bang??
By sld on 2/18/2010 1:35:42 AM , Rating: 2
Meaning Carl Sagan really is a man of faith... just that he has faith in everything except God. Considering how finite man is and how capricious the universe is, he has great faith indeed!

Practical applications?
By knutjb on 2/16/2010 7:20:21 PM , Rating: 2
I'm all for the research but I would like to see practical applications for a return on investment, i.e. what can be created from big bang pressures and temperatures.

If you used billions of someone else's dollars to show how it happened, figured out how to recreate it even if for a minute sliver of time, what can you sell from it? Selling potential outcome can help fund their efforts in times of severe financial strain.

RE: Practical applications?
By captainentropy on 2/17/2010 3:56:51 AM , Rating: 2

I'm sure some knucklehead said the same thing when Fermi split the atom. Or when Watson and Crick proposed the structure of DNA. Honestly, let science go where it does. Let scientists investigate where their results and ideas take them. Perhaps read the fable of the goose that laid the golden eggs.

RE: Practical applications?
By JimmyC on 2/18/2010 1:30:06 PM , Rating: 2
Correction, Einstein split the atom, when he was young. Yahoo it if you don't believe me.

RE: Practical applications?
By sld on 2/18/2010 1:45:05 AM , Rating: 3
You're confusing science with technology.

Science deals with discoveries, exploring the unknown, pushing back the frontier of the unknown universe. How the heck do you quantify that?

Technology comes in and makes scientific discoveries beneficial to humankind. That's the "science" an increasing number of people are getting mixed up in, possibly because this world is becoming really materialistic.

There is zero chance that Fermilab find the Higgs.
By uutorok on 2/16/2010 4:01:24 PM , Rating: 2
Fermilab won't find the Higgs due to its designed energy. LHC will find Higgs if the particle exists.

By foolsgambit11 on 2/16/2010 10:15:19 PM , Rating: 2
The issue is that we don't know the actual characteristics of the Higgs boson. There is a predicted range for it, though. My understanding was that Fermilab could find it if the particle was at the bottom of that range (with respect to the energy required to free/create it), and the LHC may find it unless it is at the top end of the range. But even the LHC may not find it, and not just because it may not exist. But I'm not a particle physicist by any means, hence the very vague terms I'm forced to talk in.

Despite that, I'll chime in and say I hope it doesn't exist. That would be really exciting for physics.

By tfk11 on 2/17/2010 3:16:22 AM , Rating: 2
What happens to the gold atoms when they cool back down?

Do they reform back into gold or atoms of a different type?

RE: Question
By uutorok on 2/17/2010 2:42:35 PM , Rating: 2
They don't. In the end, there will be thousands of individual protons and neutrinos.

Good good.
By Icehearted on 2/18/2010 1:16:26 AM , Rating: 2
So how long do you think it'll be before the tell us to witness the firepower of this armed, and fully operational battle-station!

hottest? not surprising
By MadMan007 on 2/16/2010 2:18:23 PM , Rating: 1
Brooke Haven laboratories makes the hottest thing on earth? No surprise there!

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