Review

The Exploration of Hot Nuclear Matter

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Science  20 Jul 2012:
Vol. 337, Issue 6092, pp. 310-314
DOI: 10.1126/science.1215901

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Abstract

When nuclear matter is heated beyond 2 trillion degrees, it becomes a strongly coupled plasma of quarks and gluons. Experiments using highly energetic collisions between heavy nuclei have revealed that this new state of matter is a nearly ideal, highly opaque liquid. A description based on string theory and black holes in five dimensions has made the quark-gluon plasma an archetypical strongly coupled quantum system. Open questions about the structure and theory of the quark-gluon plasma are under active investigation. Many of the insights are also relevant to ultracold fermionic atoms and strongly correlated condensed matter.

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