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High energy nuclear and particle physics

High energy nuclear physics

While nuclear physics has long been concerned with understanding the properties of the atomic nucleus, the field of high-energy nuclear physics deals with what happens to nuclear matter at extreme temperatures and densities. For example, is there a new phase (or phases) of nuclear matter at high temperatures and densities and what phenomena does nuclear matter show under these conditions? Experiments on the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) in Brookhaven , have shown that it is possible to recreate the 'quark-gluon plasma', the primordial fluid that is created in the first microseconds after the Big Bang, by colliding gold nuclei in a particle accelerator. This fluid is almost “perfect” in the sense of the lowest observed flow resistance (technically the ratio of viscosity to entropy density) of all known substances. Heavy ion collisions are also involved in the Large Hadron Collider am CERN and continue to study the properties of nuclear matter at even higher collision energies.

Further information can be found on the websites of the High Energy Theory Group and the High Energy Nuclear Group.

High energy particle physics

High-energy particle physics, also known as elementary particle physics, has long been one of the strengths of the Columbia Physics Department. This field deals with the most fundamental questions about the elementary particles and forces in our universe. The Standard Model describes these particles and their interactions in great detail and has been verified for almost half a century in a large number of experiments that resulted in the discovery of the Higgs boson on Large Hadron Collider am CERN in 2012. However, the clear evidence of phenomena with interpretations outside the Standard Model, such as neutrino masses, dark matter and dark energy, motivates the search for a broader theory and even more unexpected results. The Large Hadron Collider generates the most energetic collisions of all accelerators and the study of neutrinos with a series of experiments Fermi National Accelerator Lab in den USA continues to study their masses and properties. In the meantime, direct search experiments in dark matter such as XENON put dark matter theories to the test. These experiments, coupled with experiments in astrophysics and cosmology, should provide the clues necessary to understand physics beyond the Standard Model.

Further information can be found on the websites of the High Energy Theory Group, Particle Physics Group and Dark Matter Group.

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Affiliated faculty

Photo von Elena Aprile Photo von Elena AprileProfessor

Elena Aprile

Professor of Physics, Department of Physics

Research interest

High energy nuclear / particle physics, astrophysics, gravitational waves and cosmology

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