Infographic: Rhic cooks up a quantum tempest in a teacup
When particles collide inside Brookhaven Lab's Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), they melt at trillion-degree temperatures and form a friction-free "perfect" liquid. This quark-gluon plasma, composed of the liberated building blocks of protons, filled the early universe just microseconds after the Big Bang. Recreating this primordial plasma gives scientists a way to study the dawn of time and the forces that bind the visible matter of the cosmos.
But what would happen if we poured this ultra-hot melted matter into a teacup—admittedly a tall order—and began to stir?