Big Bang query: Mapping how a mysterious liquid became all matter | 1/14/2019 | Staff
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The leading theory about how the universe began is the Big Bang, which says that 14 billion years ago the universe existed as a singularity, a one-dimensional point, with a vast array of fundamental particles contained within it. Extremely high heat and energy caused it to inflate and then expand into the cosmos as we know it—and, the expansion continues to this day.

The initial result of the Big Bang was an intensely hot and energetic liquid that existed for mere microseconds that was around 10 billion degrees Fahrenheit (5.5 billion Celsius). This liquid contained nothing less than the building blocks of all matter. As the universe cooled, the particles decayed or combined giving rise to... well, everything.

Plasma - QGP - Name - Substance - Particles—and

Quark-gluon plasma (QGP) is the name for this mysterious substance so called because it was made up of quarks—the fundamental particles—and gluons, which physicist Rosi J. Reed describes as "what quarks use to talk to each other."

Scientists like Reed, an assistant professor in Lehigh University's Department of Physics whose research includes experimental high-energy physics, cannot go back in time to study how the Universe began. So they re-create the circumstances, by colliding heavy ions, such as Gold, at nearly the speed of light, generating an environment that is 100,000 times hotter than the interior of the sun. The collision mimics how quark-gluon plasma became matter after the Big Bang, but in reverse: the heat melts the ions' protons and neutrons, releasing the quarks and gluons hidden inside them.

Accelerators - World - Capable - Ions—and - US

There are currently only two operational accelerators in the world capable of colliding heavy ions—and only one in the U.S.: Brookhaven National Lab's Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC). It is about a three-hour drive from Lehigh, in Long Island, New York.

Reed is part of the STAR Collaboration , an international group of scientists and engineers running experiments...
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