News FocusPhysics

Making the Stuff of the Big Bang

Science  20 Aug 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5431, pp. 1194-1197
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5431.1194

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Summary

BROOKHAVEN NATIONAL LABORATORY-- Starting this fall, a machine here called the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) will collide gold nuclei traveling at nearly the speed of light with such force that they will melt into their primordial building blocks: quarks and the gluons that hold them together. A decade in the making, costing $600 million, RHIC is the first collider designed specifically to create and detect the exotic concoction called quark-gluon plasma, which is the state of matter that existed in the first instant after the big bang.