The ALICE time machine
Università di Torino e INFN, sezione di Torino, Via Giuria 1, Torino, Italy
Published online: 5 September 2013
According to the Big Bang theory, the Universe was once in an extremely hot and dense state which expanded rapidly. In such a state the normal nuclear matter could not exist: it is believed that a few microsecond after big-bang the matter underwent a phase transition, from a state called Quark-Gluon Plasma (QGP) to a hadron gas. Some of the unexplained features of the Universe could be explained by the QGP properties. One of the aims of the CERN LHC is to recreate (on a smaller scale) a QGP state, compressing and heating ordinary nuclear matter by means of ultrarelativistic heavy-ion collisions. The ALICE experiment at CERN is dedicated to the study of the medium produced in these collisions : in particular, the study of the heavy quarkonia suppression pattern can give a measure of the temperature reached in these collisions, helping us to understand how close we are getting to the conditions of the starting point of the Universe.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2013
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