London, Feb 16 (ANI): Physicists have measured the temperature inside the hottest fireball on Earth, a four-trillion-degree soup of melted protons and neutrons, which could help explain why matter won over antimatter after the Big Bang.
According to a report in Nature News, this soup of subatomic particles was created in collisions of gold nuclei at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York.
Scientists say that the tiny bubbles in the soup could help explain a fundamental asymmetry: why, if the Big Bang created matter and antimatter in equal parts, did matter win out moments later?
Five years ago, RHIC scientists announced that they had begun to understand the mash of melted protons and neutrons created by smashing gold nuclei in their machine, a collider ring nearly 4 kilometres around.
The nuclei are composed of hadrons - particles such as protons and neutrons - which are in turn made up of tightly-bound quarks and gluons.
Smashed together at 200 gigaelectronvolts, the gold nuclei unleash their constituent particles in a 'quark-gluon plasma'.
In 2005, RHIC scientists found this behaved like a perfect liquid, with particles slipping past each other frictionlessly.
But, they are only now succeeding in measuring its temperature, which can be up to 40 times hotter than the core of a supernova.
The conditions in the quark-gluon plasma are a model for a moment just a microsecond after the Big Bang, when forces and particles were emerging in a fast-paced sequence.
The bubbles within the plasma offer clues about what might have happened moments earlier in the Universe's history, when several radical things had to happen in order for antimatter to disappear.
One of those things is that a particular law of conservation - that in particle interactions or decays, the number of constituent sub-particles is conserved - was somehow violated.
RHIC scientists say that the lack of symmetry in the twisting, fleeting vortices of gluons could point towards a long-sought mechanism for violating this conservation. (ANI)