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article imageScientists collide gold ions, reach hottest temp ever recorded

By Paul Wallis     Feb 16, 2010 in Science
The US Department of Energy Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven did an experiment with colliding gold ions in 2005 which has now been measured to have reached a temperature of 4 trillion degrees, the hottest lab temp ever recorded.
This result is one of the major achievements of modern physics, as well as extraordinarily good scientific practice.
The result, quark and gluon sub particle soup, is a substance that hasn’t been on anyone’s theoretical menus before except in the most hypothetical terms. This “perfect” liquid is believed to resemble early matter in the superheated early moments of the existence of the universe.
Meaning it’s another form of matter, one that doesn’t naturally exist in the current state of this universe. Even the laws of thermodynamics are on probation at 4 trillion C, and if you’re going to get run over when the findings are published, it’ll be by a physicist or several.
The artificial creation of a temperature like this is on a par with some of Asimov’s writings about the ability to artificially produce any form of matter at will with superheated plasma, except he wasn’t mentioning trillions of degrees. This temperature and the new methodology also adds a few strings to the banjo of the nuclear industry. Those 4 trillion degrees are higher than fusion temperatures, at done at a controlled rate.
The scientists didn’t do it easy, either. The controlled result was the product of some pretty well thought out measurement techniques, eliminating unwanted elements from the measurements.
The scientists have also developed a theory about vortices created by electromagnetic fields which have some further ramifications in terms of explaining the prevalence of matter over anti matter in the universe.
Interestingly, the vortices also seem to duplicate many other known vortex structures in the universe like galaxies, black holes, etc. Early galaxies were notably irregular, not the gigantic whirlpools we know today. It may be through this research that another piece of the mystery, how the little “tadpole” galaxies became super giant structures, is explained. Galactic collisions are the current theory, but super heating and production of vortices would explain a lot, too.
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