From Washington, D.C., at the American Physical Society's April Meeting 2001
It's easy to see when water boils, but it's much harder to discern the roiling transitions of matter and space in particle accelerators.
As it turns out, little bits of space may have reached a coveted cosmic boil years ago in some of the world's highest-energy particle collision–only researchers didn't know it.
John G. Cramer of the University of Washington in Seattle presented a new analysis of the conditions created last year by powerful collisions between gold ions in the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, N.Y. "There are some surprises that come out of this," he says.
In millions of fiery impacts last year at RHIC, and during accelerator experiments in Europe in the past 2 decades, physicists have sought to create tiny blazing clouds of protoatomic stuff called the quark-gluon plas