Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Bill Cabage (cabagewh@ornl.gov)
Communications and External Relations


Audio Spot: Physics - Stirring the Big Bang soup

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., April 15, 2005 — Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are setting up for some cataclysmic number crunching.

Data from the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider's PHENIX detector, located at Brookhaven Laboratory in New York, will be piped to East Tennessee, where ORNL physicists will search for a handful of significant particle-collision "events" hidden among billions.

Even after the multitude of heavy ion and proton collisions generated by RHIC are winnowed down to an interesting few thousand per second, the PHENIX experiment, which runs 24-7 for six months a year, generates enough data to fill a 50-gigabyte hard drive in a few minutes.

The ORNL researchers will use a new array of high-end processors to peruse the data for those magical events that reveal matter as it existed in the fleeting microseconds just after the Big Bang. That's when the theorized soup of quark and gluons were at temperatures and densities never seen again except, possibly, in these experiments.(Contact: Bill Cabage, 865-574-4399; cabagewh@ornl.gov)

To see other ORNL Story Tips, go to: http://www.ornl.gov/info/press_releases/story_tips.cfm