March 5, 2018, 12:00 PM, 112W
Matthew D. Sievert (Los Alamos)
Quark/Antiquark Correlations in Heavy Ion Collisions

The ultra-relativistic collisions of heavy ions at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) and the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) are believed to create a tiny, short-lived fireball of quark-gluon plasma (QGP). This extreme state of matter at very high temperatures and densities existed in the very universe and is a 'nearly perfect liquid' with a viscosity close to the quantum limit. Because the QGP flows so readily, it is very sensitive to geometric and quantum fluctuations at the time of its formation, preserving and propagating their signatures into the distribution of particles formed when the QGP cools into ordinary matter. Thus, understanding heavy ion collisions at RHIC and the LHC requires a detailed knowledge of the fluctuations and correlations that existed at the time the QGP first formed. Up until now, most of the emphasis has been on the initial energy density both at long distances due to fluctuations in the geometry of the colliding nuclei, and at short distances due to quantum fluctuations in gluon bremsstrahlung. In this talk, I will present a new calculation of the correlations among quarks and antiquarks in the initial stages of heavy ion collisions. Unlike the fluctuations due to gluon bremsstrahlung, these quark / antiquark fluctuations can carry quantum numbers beyond their energy density, including flavor, electric charge, and baryon number, and they may have a unique impact on the particles measured in the final state of heavy ion collisions. The ultimate goal of this project is to compute all of these fluctuations, interface them with a hydrodynamic simulation of the 'nearly perfect liquid' QGP, and determine their impact on the measured particles.