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We wondered what the aftermath of the collision of two gold ions traveling nearly at the speed of light would “sound” like, when the frequencies are converted to the frequency range of human hearing. So Paul Sorensen and I determined that sound starting from data taken at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) of Brookhaven Lab, and my student, Alex Doig, senior illustration major at Pratt Institute, accompanied it with illustrations and animations.
At RHIC physicists create matter as hot and dense as the universe was a millionth of a second after the Big Bang. For this reason, the collisions are sometimes called “little bangs”. When gold ions traveling at nearly the speed of light smash into each other a vast amount of energy (a large fraction of the 40 trillion electron volts from the colliding beams) is deposited into a tiny region in space, one millionth of one billionth of a meter across. This tiny speck of matter produced in these little bangs...
... Inside the QGP, there are no protons and neutrons, just a seething mix of quarks and gluons in a soup that is 250,000 times hotter than the center of the sun. This matter is created thousands or even millions of times per second in the collision of gold nuclei at the RHIC, the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider of Brookhaven National Laboratory.