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Physics and Astronomy

Physics & Astronomy Colloquium

3:30 PM, Friday, October 7, 2011
Room 155, Chem-Phys Building

Dr. Mike Lisa
Department of Physics
Ohio State University

"Partonic Condensed Matter Physics - The relevance of RHIC at the dawn of the LHC''

The heavy ion program at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has begun in earnest, with publications appearing only months after first collisions between lead nuclei in 2010. The energy of these collisions are more than an order of magnitude greater than that produced at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), the world's only other heavy ion collider. In particle physics, higher energies are almost always preferred as channels open for heavier particles, and complications from non-perturbative quantum chromodynamic (QCD) effects decrease. However, while heavy ion experiments increasingly resemble their particle physics cousins, the physics under study is significantly different and has a well-defined scale. It is far from clear that exploring physics well above this scale will produce new insight. In particular, the goal of relativistic heavy ion physics is to understand the nature of color confinement, the most essential and explicitly non-perturbative feature of the Strong interaction.
The beam energy scan (BES) program at RHIC aims to probe the phase diagram of QCD at the natural energy scale of the theory, in the search for non-trivial features such as critical points or first-order phase transitions between confined and deconfined matter. This is similar to studying the physics of YBCO superconductors near their transition temperature of 90K, rather than at the boiling point of water or Helium. I'll discuss the physics of the RHIC-BES program, with a particular focus on how one measures the space-time features of a femtoscopic system.

Refreshments will be served in CP 179 at 3:15 PM