Physics & Astronomy
Quarks and Gluons are the most fundamental building blocks that form the
nuclear matter via the strong force. Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD)
predicts that when the temperature exceeds about two trillion kelvin, a
new state of matter will emerge, in which quarks and gluons become
locally deconfined and quasi-free. This so-called "Quark-Gluon Plasma"
(QGP) matter is believed to have existed in the early universe in the
first few microseconds after the Big Bang. In the past decade,
experiments at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) made major
breakthroughs in identifying a hot and opaque QCD matter that exhibits a
nearly perfect fluid nature with close to minimal shear
The onset of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has opened the door to a
variety of new opportunities in the field of high-energy nuclear
physics. In this talk, I will review the most striking observations in
colliding the ultrarelativistic heavy nuclei, with a focus on the
exciting new results from the first heavy-ion data taken at the LHC.
Emphasis will be given to the measurements of collective flow and
in-medium parton energy loss phenomena, which provide us essential
insight in understanding the fluid nature of the QCD matter under
extreme condition. Outlook of future programs will also be discussed.