A 30-year adventure with heavy ions

Lead ion collisions (F Ronchetti/CERN)

Three decades since the first ultra-relativistic collisions were produced at CERN, the field of heavy-ion physics is still a hot topic. High-energy heavy-ion and proton-proton collisions provide a unique system with which to investigate the dynamics of matter in the early universe and to probe fundamental predictions of quantum chromodynamics. A succession of collider experiments and impressive theoretical achievements have shed new light on the quark-gluon plasma, revealing it to be a perfect liquid, and recent measurements suggest the field might be witnessing another paradigm shift. 

Read more about the advancements in heavy-ion physics in this month's Courier