The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #59418 Message #1466336
Posted By: Amos
20-Apr-05 - 11:05 AM
Thread Name: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
AN OCEAN OF QUARKS. Nuclear physicists have now demonstrated that
the material essence of the universe at a time mere microseconds
after the big bang consists of a ubiquitous quark-gluon liquid.
This huge insight comes from an experiment carried out over the past
five years at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), the giant
crusher of nuclei located at Brookhaven National Lab, where
scientists have created a toy version of the cosmos amid high-energy
collisions. RHIC is of course not a telescope pointed at the sky
but an underground accelerator on Long Island; it is, nevertheless,
in effect, a precision cosmology instrument for viewing a very early
portion of the universe, a wild era long before the time of the
first atoms (which formed about 400,000 years after the big bang),
before the first compound nuclei such as helium (about a minute
after the big bang), before even the time when protons are thought
to have formed into stable entities (ten microseconds).
...Brookhaven physicist Samuel Aronson said that having established the
quark-gluon-liquid nature of the pre-protonic universe, RHIC
expected to plumb the liquid's properties, such as its heat capacity
and its reaction to shock waves. The liquid is dense but seems to
flow with very little viscosity. It flows so freely that it
approximates an ideal, or perfect, fluid, the kind governed by the
standard laws of hydrodynamics. At least in its flow properties the
quark liquid is therefore a classical liquid and should not be
confused with a superfluid, whose flow properties (including zero
viscosity) are dictated by quantum mechanics.
One of the reasons for RHIC's previous hesitancy in delivering a
definitive pronouncement was concern over the issue of whether the
observed nuclear liquid was composed of truly deconfined quarks and
gluons or of quarks confined within hadrons, or maybe even a mixture
of quarks and hadrons. According to William Zajc (Columbia Univ.
and spokesperson for the PHENIX detector group at RHIC), the
patterns of particles flying out of the fireball, including
preliminary data on heavier, charm-quark-containing particles such
as D mesons, support the quark liquid picture.
To summarize, the main stories here are (1) that based on the
evidence of the RHIC data, the universe in the microsecond era would
seem to consist of a novel liquid of quarks and gluons; (2) that
RHIC has reproduced small fragments of this early phase of the
universe for detailed study; and (3) that these results are vouched
for by all four RHIC groups. If there had been delays in making an
announcement of the results or if the exact nomenclature for the
novel nuclear matter had been left unsettled, the RHIC physicists at
the press conference seemed more interested in pursuing their new
kind of experimental science---a sort of fluid-dynamical cosmology.
(All four groups are also concurrently publishing "white paper"
summaries of their work in the journal Nuclear Physics A. Preprints
are available as follows: BRAHMS,
http://arxiv.org/abs/nucl-ex/0410020 ; PHENIX,
http://arxiv.org/abs/nucl-ex/0410003 ; PHOBOS,
http://arxiv.org/abs/nucl-ex/0410022 ; and STAR,
(From the AIP Bulletin of Phsyics News #728, 4-20-05)
Well, there you have it. Given the parallelism inherent between the physical universe and the spiritual/BS universe, it is clear that pre-memetic BS must have similarly been a perfect liquid, a mix of dissonant half-formed memes and cognitive disasters seeking equilibrium, but too highly energized and chaotic to achieve it.
This of course is something any farm boy learns the hard way.