How the Early Universe Was Like a Superhot Liquid

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Real lead-lead collision in ALICE inner detectorPhoto: CERNReal lead-lead collision in ALICE inner detector

The early universe was not only dense and hot, but now it has been found out that it also behaved like a hot liquid. This breakthrough discovery is based on the Large Hadron Collider ALICE’s experiment at CERN. Dr. David Evans from the University of Birmingham’s School of Physics and Astronomy, as the UK lead investigator at the ALICE experiment, said: “Although it is the very early days we are already learning more about the early universe.”

Another Real lead-lead collision in ALICE inner detectorPhoto: Credit: CERNAnother real lead-lead collision in ALICE inner detector

The ALICE collaboration consists of around 1000 physicists and engineers from about 100 institutes in 30 countries. This newfound discovery is a result of accelerating and smashing together lead nuclei at the highest possible energies in the Large Hadron Collider’s (LHC’s) ALICE experiment, recreating the conditions that existed in the first femicroseconds after the Big Bang. It is claimed by the scientists that these mini bangs create temperatures of over ten trillion degrees, the temperature which would melt a normal matter into quark-soup, a phase of QCD (Quantum Chromo dynamics).

Simulated Lead-Lead Collisions in ALICEPhoto: Credit:CERNSimulated lead-lead collisions in ALICE

The research team is studying the largely, yet unknown properties of the state of matter – ‘quark-gluco plasma.’ They have also discovered that more sub-atomic particles are produced in these head-on collisions than some theoretical models previously suggested. Though the fireball resulting from the collision only lasts a short time, researchers are able to see thousands of particles radiating out from it, when the ‘soup’ cools down. It is helpful to draw conclusions about the soup’s behavior.

The ALICE detector showing the eighteen TRD modulesPhoto: Connor Behan The ALICE detector showing the 18 TRD modules

ALICE, short for A Large Ion Collider Experiment, is one of the six detector experiments at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, one of the worlds largest centers for scientific research, in the area of fundamental physics. During collisions of lead nuclei, ALICE will record data to a disk, 24 hours a day.

Dr. D.Evans takes a close look at a lead-lead collision in ALICEPhoto: Credit:STFC
Dr. David Evans takes a close lokk at lead-lead collision in ALICE

Per the Cosmological Theory of the universe’s early development, the Big Bang was the event that led to the formation of the universe. The Big Bang is the instant in which the universe is thought to have begun rapidly expanding from an extremely high energy density.

Dr. David concludes: “The results we received would seem to suggest that the Universe would have behaved like a super-hot liquid immediately after the big-bang.”

Sources: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/news/latest/2010/11/22Nov-LHC.aspx
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quark-gluon_plasma

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