Go to STAR www

 The Physics
 The Experiment
 RHIC Lessons

q&a: the physics

How do high-energy nuclear collisions allow us to study the early universe?

Scientists believe that, in the fractions of a second after the Big Bang, the expanding matter was so hot and dense that protons and neutrons couldn't exist yet. Instead, the early universe was composed of tiny quarks and gluons, which in today's cool universe are confined to exist only within other particles like protons. Collisions of heavy nuclei at sufficiently high energies allow us to explore whether quarks and gluons do in fact become deconfined when subjected to high densities, and if so, what the properties of this quark-gluon matter are.

These pages are under development.

webmaster Last modified: Jun 19 2013 10:36.