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Science Technology

RHIC Finds Symmetry Transformations In Quark Soup 140

eldavojohn writes "Today scientists at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) in Brookhaven National Laboratory revealed new observations after creating a 'quark soup' that revealed hints of profound symmetry transformations when collisions create conditions in which temperatures reach four trillion degrees Celsius. A researcher explains the implications, 'RHIC's collisions of heavy nuclei at nearly light speed are designed to re-create, on a tiny scale, the conditions of the early universe. These new results thus suggest that RHIC may have a unique opportunity to test in the laboratory some crucial features of symmetry-altering bubbles speculated to have played important roles in the evolution of the infant universe.' These new findings hint at violations of mirror symmetry or parity by witnessing asymmetric charge separation in these collisions."
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RHIC Finds Symmetry Transformations In Quark Soup

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  • Well, duh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BadAnalogyGuy ( 945258 ) <> on Monday February 15, 2010 @02:01PM (#31146318)

    Everyone knows that there is a slight asymmetry tending towards particles rather than anti-particles. It's common sense. It's the reason why the universe exists as matter rather thant antimatter.

  • Re:Laymen terms? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2010 @02:11PM (#31146436)

    'RHIC's collisions of heavy nuclei at nearly light speed are designed to re-create, on a tiny scale, the conditions of the early universe.

    NTSB collisions of 18 wheelers at the speed of HWY 95 in North Carolina are designed to re-create, on a large scale, the conditions of the early universe.

  • by dreamchaser ( 49529 ) on Monday February 15, 2010 @02:12PM (#31146446) Homepage Journal

    Yes but they do not know why, and research such as this may help reveal something about that.

    We've known you need air to live for millenia and some short sighted folk back then probably said 'duh' too. Others tried to find out why. Now we know why. Are we better off not knowing?

  • by wisebabo ( 638845 ) on Monday February 15, 2010 @02:13PM (#31146456) Journal

    Any particle physicists out there who can tell (us) if this thing can make "strangelets"? I mean, I kinda buy the explanations of how the LHC won't make mini-black holes or if it does they will instantly "evaporate" but: 4 trillion degrees? Approximating the conditions not seen since the first billionth trillionth of a second (or something like that) of the big bang? And don't tell me that Nature regularly collides gold nuclei together in this fashion; they're not cosmic rays!

    While we're at it, are "strangelets" (or strange matter) real, I mean are they a proven particle? (And if so, how did they prove their existence without supposedly creating any?) Anyway, if this thing does make (one) and the planet gets converted into a glob of it, hopefully it'll happen at the speed of light so we won't feel anything.

    Also the phrase "symmetry-altering bubbles" when used in conjunction with the phrase "evolution of the infant UNIVERSE" makes me wonder just a little if they really want to be playing around with this stuff. At least I'm pretty sure that if a false vacuum bubble is created, it'll expand at the speed of light and we definitely won't feel a thing!

    - I actually love science and physics and have full confidence in these guys. It's fun to be paranoid every now and then though.

  • Re:Well, duh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hansraj ( 458504 ) on Monday February 15, 2010 @02:13PM (#31146458)

    Clearly we should abandon all science and just go with whatever our common sense tells us.

    Is symmetry breaking fundamental to the conditions in early universe, or is it just that we don't have big chunk of anti-matter nearby?

    If it is indeed fundamental, what causes it? You have a bunch of theories predicting that it is fundamental but the mechanisms of each theory are ever so slightly different. How are we supposed to test which ones are wrong if we don't go about doing these experiments?

    Those were just two questions off the top of my head. I am sure there are others.

    Maybe you were just going for funny mods but every time there is a story about fundamental physics someone jumps in to say that it is pointless.

  • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Monday February 15, 2010 @03:21PM (#31147296) Journal

    I'm not calling you cynical. I'm calling you a navel-gazing moron. Maybe you don't give a shit, and all the power to you, but trying to sort out things like symmetry breaking has been a goal of scientists for long time. And before you go on about how it doesn't put food on the plate or any of that crap, without basic research, the odds over the long-term of producing new technologies will decrease. Knowing what happens at 4 trillion degrees may not have any practical application today, but then again, neither did Galileo's or Newton's work have a lot of practical applications at the time, and yet we'd live in a more ignorant and technologically limited world without them.

  • Re:Well, duh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by KarrdeSW ( 996917 ) on Monday February 15, 2010 @03:35PM (#31147466)




    You're all overloading my brain with almost-puns... now I can't distinguish the funny posts from ones with valid points!

  • Re:Well, duh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by amRadioHed ( 463061 ) on Monday February 15, 2010 @04:20PM (#31148002)

    I think the idea that we just don't have a big chunk of anti-matter nearby has been pretty much ruled out. If there were big chunks of anti-matter somewhere in the universe, then there would be border areas where they meet big chunks of regular matter and that should be very easy to spot.

  • by amorsen ( 7485 ) <> on Monday February 15, 2010 @05:01PM (#31148494)

    Galaxies collide a lot. You'd expect at least one of the collisions which we can observe to be antimatter-matter, but it hasn't happened. And it would be REALLY easy to tell if it did.

  • Re:Pedantic (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2010 @05:18PM (#31148712)

    I find it baffling that you'd pick up on the (microscopic) difference between Celsius and Kelvin - but ignore the utterly meaningless term "trillion". Nobody in the sciences uses that word since it may or may not imply 9 or 12 or 15 (or whatever) zeros, depending on which part of the globe you happen you stand on.

    Oh, and 0.4GeV is nothing - the cosmic-ray spectrum peaks around 1GeV and cosmic-ray events have been observed another 11 orders of magnitude beyond that. Google term: "Fly's Eye".

  • by Elrac ( 314784 ) <.moc.zcirtoms. .ta. .lrac.> on Monday February 15, 2010 @06:04PM (#31149264) Homepage Journal

    Not really, no.

  • Re:Well, duh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by damburger ( 981828 ) on Monday February 15, 2010 @07:14PM (#31150138)

    Common sense? You can't apply your meatbrain savanna instincts to cosmic scale problems such as the composition of the universe. To quote Terry Pratchett's grim reaper, "YOU ARE NOTHING MORE THAN A LUCKY SPECIES OF APE THAT IS TRYING TO UNDERSTAND THE COMPLEXITIES OF CREATION VIA A LANGUAGE THAT EVOLVED IN ORDER TO TELL ONE ANOTHER WHERE THE RIPE FRUIT WAS"

    You've not strayed from current physics knowledge here, but your reason for supporting sounds kind of flimsy.

  • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Monday February 15, 2010 @08:55PM (#31150962) Homepage

    Finding out why we need air to breathe didn't entail the possibility of ripping a hole in the space time continuum, with dire consequences for the solar system, the galaxy, and possibly the local universe

    Are you sure? We only know that it didn't happen, not that it wasn't a risk!

    I'm just pointing this out so when the LHC fails to destroy the earth, you can say it was a possibility we lucked out on and not just uninformed paranoia. :)

    My money is on a certain percentage of Gamma Ray Bursters being the signature of an advancing civilization snuffing out its first really high energy particle accelerator, and its planet

    My money is on gamma ray bursts being the signature of an advancing civilization mastering the Intrinsic Field, when billions of Dr. Manhattans all depart their home world simultaneously to go explore the cosmos.

    The nice thing about this bet is that if I'm right, we will be here to collect, however money will have ceased to have any meaning.

The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford