Exploring the quark gluon plasma, the primordial state of matter
IN2P3-Subatech Nantes and CERN
When nuclear matter is heated beyond a temperature of 2 trillion degrees,
it converts into a strongly coupled plasma of quarks and gluons.
Experiments using highly energetic collisions between heavy nuclei
have revealed that this new state of matter is a nearly ideal, highly opaque liquid.
Before discussing how physicists, guided by the theories explaining the organization
of the subatomic world, came to such conclusions, I will introduce the general concepts
allowing to answer questions such as what is matter, what is it made of and how
has it evolved since the birth of the Universe.