The Discovery Center goes to Quark Matter
From August 13-18 the Quark Matter (QM) 2012 International Conference was held in Washington D.C. QM is the largest conference dedicated to relativistic heavy ion physics, and this year marked the 23rd edition.
The aim of QM is to collect the new knowledge from the various heavy ion experiments and put it in a perspective, to hopefully gain new insights in the state of matter known as Quark-Gluon Plasma. In the end, this knowledge can be used to better understand the primordial "soup" that governed our Universe approximately 0.000001 second after the Big Bang.
The Discovery Center made its presence felt, with two parallel talks, a poster and large contributions to a third parallel talk given by a colleague from Institut de Physique Nucleaire de Lyon in France.
Discovery post.doc Hans Dalsgaard's, soon to-be published, results on the charged particle multiplicity, made in cooperation with colleagues from a number of countries involved in the ALICE experiment at CERN, were presented. The multiplicity tells us about the number of particles produced in a collision. The results showed the multiplicity versus the polar angle in the experiment, known to physicists as the pseudorapidity.
Professor Jens Jørgen Gaardhøje showed a poster with proof of concept results from the ongoing Discovery Center project of applying methods from the Cosmic Microwave Background analyses to heavy ion collisions.
A big topic in current heavy ion research is known as anisotropic azimuthal flow. Discovery phd student Alexander Hansen and post.doc Ante Bilandzic both had talks with new results concerning flow measurements. Alexander Hansen's results concerned flow and flow fluctuations over a wide range in pseudorapidity. The main result showing that when looking at flow in the center-of-mass frame of one of the colliding nuclei, a flow observable known as elliptic flow has the same rapidity dependence over two orders of magnitude in collision energy.
Ante Bilandzic showed results from multi-particle correlation techniques, which put new constraints on the underlying probability distribution function governing the system, which may lead to a deeper understanding of the quantum fluctuations present at those times.