News & AnalysisNuclear Physics

DOE Funding Crunch Threatens Future of Only U.S. Collider Still Running

Science  27 Jan 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6067, pp. 392-393
DOI: 10.1126/science.335.6067.392

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Summary

As physicists at Brookhaven National Laboratory continually upgrade the $1.1 billion Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) and the two big particle detectors it feeds, known as STAR and PHENIX, they hope to map out the relationship between ordinary nuclear matter made of protons and neutrons and the quark-gluon plasma, which may be analogous to the relationship between liquid water and steam. They are also planning a $500 million upgrade for early next decade that would enable the collider to answer a key puzzle about the proton itself—if RHIC doesn't fall victim to budget cuts.