Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC)

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Brookhaven National Lab
Upton

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631 344-2345

Description

The Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) is designed to study matter as it existed fractions of a second after the birth of the universe - as a plasma of quarks and gluons, the fundamental components of matter.At RHIC, physicists accelerate and collide heavy ions (atoms of heavy elements stripped of their electrons) at high energies to mimic the hot, dense conditions of the early universe (250,000 times hotter than the center of the sun). Surprisingly, the data have revealed quark-gluon matter that behaves as a nearly-perfect liquid, rather than the predicted gas. RHIC physicists also accelerate and collide polarized protons to explore the mysterious internal spin structure of the proton.

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