Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider











The Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC, pronounced like "Rick") is one of only two operating heavy-ion colliders, and the only spin-polarized proton collider ever built. Located at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) in Upton, New York, and used by an international team of researchers, it is the only operating particle collider in the US. By using RHIC to collide ions traveling at relativistic speeds, physicists study the primordial form of matter that existed in the universe shortly after the Big Bang. By colliding spin-polarized protons, the spin structure of the proton is explored. As of 2014 RHIC and the LHC are the only operating hadron colliders in the world. Read more ...




In the News ...





RHIC particle smashups find that shape matters   PhysOrg - December 7, 2015
Peering into the seething soup of primordial matter created in particle collisions at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC)-an "atom smasher" dedicated to nuclear physics research at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory-scientists have come to a new understanding of how particles are produced in these collisions. This understanding represents a paradigm shift consistent with the presence of a saturated state of gluons, super-dense fields of the glue-like particles that bind the building blocks of ordinary matter.




Scientists see ripples of a particle-separating wave in primordial plasma   PhysOrg - June 8, 2015

Scientists in the STAR collaboration at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), a particle accelerator exploring nuclear physics and the building blocks of matter at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, have new evidence for what's called a "chiral magnetic wave" rippling through the soup of quark-gluon plasma created in RHIC's energetic particle smashups.




Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider smashes record for polarized proton luminosity   PhysOrg - April 14, 2015
The Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), a powerful particle accelerator for nuclear physics research at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, just shattered its own record for producing polarized proton collisions at 200-giga-electron-volt (GeV) collision energy. In the experimental run currently underway at this two-ringed, 2.4-mile-circumference particle collider, accelerator physicists are now delivering 1200 billion of these subatomic smashups per week-more than double the number routinely achieved in 2012, the last run dedicated to polarized proton experiments at this collision energy.




Tracking the transition of early-universe quark soup to matter-as-we-know-it   Science Daily - April 7, 2014

Ever wonder how the hot soup of subatomic particles that filled the early universe transformed into the ordinary matter of today's world? Nuclear physicists exploring this question can't exactly travel back 13.8 billion years to watch what really happened, but they can recreate matter at the extreme temperatures and densities that existed just after the Big Bang by smashing together ordinary atomic nuclei at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC).




Tracking the transition of early-universe quark soup to matter as we know it   PhysOrg - April 7, 2014
Ever wonder how the hot soup of subatomic particles that filled the early universe transformed into the ordinary matter of today's world? Nuclear physicists exploring this question can't exactly travel back 13.8 billion years to watch what really happened, but they can recreate matter at the extreme temperatures and densities that existed just after the Big Bang by smashing together ordinary atomic nuclei at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC).




RHIC: For One Tiny Instant, Physicists May Have Broken a Law of Nature   PhysOrg - March 19, 2010

For a brief instant, it appears, scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island recently discovered a law of nature had been broken.




In Brookhaven Collider, Scientists Briefly Break a Law of Nature   New York Times - February 16, 2010

Physicists said that they had whacked a tiny region of space with enough energy to briefly distort the laws of physics, providing the first laboratory demonstration of the kind of process that scientists suspect has shaped cosmic history. The blow was delivered in the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, or RHIC, at the Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, where, since 2000, physicists have been accelerating gold nuclei around a 2.4-mile underground ring to 99.995 percent of the speed of light and then colliding them in an effort to melt protons and neutrons and free their constituents - quarks and gluons. The goal has been a state of matter called a quark-gluon plasma, which theorists believe existed when the universe was only a microsecond old.




Big Bang Conditions Created in Lab   Live Science - February 15, 2010

By smashing gold particles together at super-fast speeds, physicists have basically melted protons, creating a kind of "quark soup" of matter that is about 250,000 times hotter than the center of the sun and similar to conditions just after the birth of the universe.Scientists reported in 2005 that they suspected they had created this unique state of matter, but for the first time they have verified that the extreme temperatures necessary have been reached.




The Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider Makes Some Noise    PhysOrg - November 21, 2008
A group of physicists studying heavy-ion collisions at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), a large particle accelerator located on Long Island, New York, recently showed that the collisions can create acoustic shock waves -- sonic booms. This new information could be used to learn even more about the intriguing state of matter produced during the collisions.




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