Soon after the Big Bang, it was too hot for normal matter to exist. Instead, the Universe was made up of an extremely hot liquid of quarks and gluons: the quark-gluon plasma (QGP). As the Universe cooled, these quarks and gluons combined into protons and neutrons, and formed atomic nuclei. Those nuclei are at the centre of the atoms that make up the matter around us today.
To learn about the QGP, physicists at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN are smashing together nuclei at nearly the speed of light. Each collision has enough energy to melt the protons and neutrons inside the nuclei and create a tiny droplet of the QGP. Dr. Anne Marie Sickles will explain how physicists at the ATLAS experiment are studying the QGP and what they've have learned.
Dr. Sickles received her undergraduate degree at Gonzaga University. For her Ph.D at Stony Brook University, she worked on the PHENIX experiment at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Lab. Following that, she was a postdoc and then a staff scientist at Brookhaven. Dr. Sickles joined the ATLAS Collaboration in 2014, as she moved to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a faculty member. Dr. Sickles was the convener of the ATLAS Heavy Ion Group from 2018 to 2020.
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