Physics professor publishes exact solution to model Big Bang and quark gluon plasma

December 16, 2014, Kent State University
Credit: Phys. Rev. Lett. 113, 202301 – Published 14 November 2014.

Unlike in mathematics, it is rare to have exact solutions to physics problems.

"When they do present themselves, they are an opportunity to test the approximation schemes (algorithms) that are used to make progress in modern physics," said Michael Strickland, Ph.D., associate professor of physics at Kent State University.

Strickland and four of his collaborators recently published an exact solution in the journal Physical Review Letters that applies to a wide array of physics contexts and will help researchers to better model galactic structure, supernova explosions and high-energy particle collisions, such as those studied at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland. In these collisions, experimentalists create a short-lived high-temperature plasma of quarks and gluons called quark gluon plasma (QGP), much like what is believed to be the state of the universe milliseconds after the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago.

In their article, Strickland and co-authors Gabriel S. Denicol of McGill University, Ulrich Heinz and Mauricio Martinez of the Ohio State University, and Jorge Noronha of the University of São Paulo presented the first exact solution that describes a system that is expanding at relativistic velocities radially and longitudinally.

The equation that was solved was invented by Austrian physicist Ludwig Boltzmann in 1872 to model the dynamics of fluids and gases. This equation was ahead of its time since Boltzmann imagined that matter was atomic in nature and that the dynamics of the system could be understood solely by analyzing collisional processes between sets of particles.

"In the last decade, there has been a lot of work modeling the evolution of the using hydrodynamics in which the QGP is imagined to be fluidlike," Strickland said. "As it turns out, the equations of hydrodynamics can be obtained from the Boltzmann equation and, unlike the hydrodynamical equations, the Boltzmann equation is not limited to the case of a system that is in (or close to) thermal equilibrium.

"Both types of expansion occur in relativistic , and one must include both if one hopes to make a realistic description of the dynamics," Strickland continued. "The new exact solution has both types of expansion and can be used to tell us which hydrodynamical framework is the best."

The abstract for this article can be found at journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/ … ysRevLett.113.202301 .

Explore further: A closer look at the perfect fluid

More information: New Exact Solution of the Relativistic Boltzmann Equation and its Hydrodynamic Limit, Phys. Rev. Lett. 113, 202301 – Published 14 November 2014. journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/ … ysRevLett.113.202301

Related Stories

A closer look at the perfect fluid

October 2, 2014

By combining data from two high-energy accelerators, nuclear scientists have refined the measurement of a remarkable property of exotic matter known as quark-gluon plasma. The findings reveal new aspects of the ultra-hot, ...

High-energy particle collisions reveal the unexpected

August 8, 2014

The nucleus of an atom is composed of protons and neutrons, which are themselves made up of elementary particles called quarks and gluons. Observing these elementary particles is difficult and typically involves smashing ...

First indirect evidence of so-far undetected strange baryons

August 19, 2014

(Phys.org) —New supercomputing calculations provide the first evidence that particles predicted by the theory of quark-gluon interactions but never before observed are being produced in heavy-ion collisions at the Relativistic ...

Recommended for you

Structure of fossil-fuel source rocks is finally decoded

November 13, 2018

The fossil fuels that provide much of the world's energy orginate in a type of rock known as kerogen, and the potential for recovering these fuels depends crucially on the size and connectedness of the rocks' internal pore ...

Atomic parity violation research reaches new milestone

November 12, 2018

A reflection always reproduces objects as a complete mirror image, rather than just its individual parts or individual parts in a completely different orientation. It's all or nothing, the mirror can't reflect just a little. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.