Wayne State University, Department of Physics and Astronomy

Colloquium

Thursday 17 December 1998

New Physics at RHIC: Low Energy Lessons, High Energy Hopes

Sean Gavin, Wayne State University

Experiments will shortly begin at Brookhaven's Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider. While our modest expectation is that these experiments will provide data on multiparticle production in a regime where it can be confronted by QCD-based phenomenology, our boldest hope is that they will also provide insight into the properties of matter at very high energy density -- the quark-gluon plasma (QGP).

My aim is to show how a systematic program of RHIC experiments may reveal properties of quark-gluon plasma. The key features that can distinguish QGP from a nucleon-meson gas are quark deconfinement and chiral-symmetry restoration. Deconfinement makes the QGP a "plasma" capable of conducting color fields. Chiral symmetry breaking, which explains the masses of pions and other hadrons, is roughly analogous to Cooper pairing in a superconductor.

I will discuss how recent CERN and Brookhaven experiments have broadened our knowledge of the evolution of dense hadronic systems and prepared us for RHIC. I will discuss how RHIC observables can exhibit QGP properties, focusing on "J/psi suppression," "pion interferometry" and "disoriented chiral condensate" formation. This talk is intended to bridge between the recent experimental colloquium by Claude Pruneau and more-theoretical colloquium by Sasha Makhlin.

Colloquium starts at 16:00 in Room 245 and lasts about 1 hour including questions. Refreshments are served at 15:30 in room 245.

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