This U.S.-Hungarian research project involving William Zajc of Columbia University and Tamas Csorgo of the Hungarian Institute for Particle and Nuclear Physics features collaborative work at the Brookhaven Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC). The goal is to unify experimental and theoretical efforts to discover and characterize quark-gluon plasma (QGP). This pursuit involves the study of several important aspects of relativistic heavy-ion collisions, properties of hadrons in hot and dense matter, and signals of the QGP formation. By building upon Hungarian expertise in measuring zero-degree spectra in heavy ion collisions, this international team intends to define an event characterization method common to four complementary RHIC experiments (BRAHMS, PHENIX, PHOBOS, and STAR). Special attention will be directed toward interpreting complex signatures of quark deconfinement obtained by the PHENIX detector which Zajc heads. If successful, findings should prove the existence of a new state of matter, Quark-Gluon Plasma, with a full characterization of underlying physical phenomena. Results are expected to improve our basic understanding of the early universe and properties of massive stars.
This international project in nuclear theory fulfills the program objective of advancing scientific knowledge by enabling experts in the Untied States and Central Europe to combine complementary talents and share research resources in areas of strong mutual interest and competence.