Cosmological Cocktail: Scientists discover new perfect liquid
Using a giant atom smasher, physicists at a Long Island’s New Haven National Laboratory created a new state of matter believed to make up the cosmos at its beginning.
At its very, very beginning-within the first microseconds, to be exact.
This new form of matter behaves as what scientists call a “very nearly perfect” liquid, meaning that it has almost no viscosity.
They created the liquid by smashing gold ions at the speed of light, causing temperatures that reached into the trillions of degrees. That level of heat caused the quarks and gluons, usually eternally attached to protons and neurons, to separate and fly out.
This new finding rebuts the previous idea that the earliest moments of the universe were composed of gas. Even more startling is the credence it lends to a recent and controversial idea known as “string theory.” String theory allows the theoretical framework to look at the universe in 10 dimensions rather than the usual and easily recognizable four.
“The possibility of a connection between string theory and RHIC collisions is unexpected and exhilarating,” Dr. Orbach said.
“String theory seeks to unify the two great intellectual achievements of twentieth-century physics, general relativity and quantum mechanics, and it may well have a profound impact on the physics of the twenty-first century.”