clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

RHIC sets world record for hottest man-made temperature

New, 25 comments

Researchers at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) have set a Guinness World Record for highest man-made temperature after colliding gold nuclei at almost light-speed.

RHIC Record Credit Brookhaven National Laboratory
RHIC Record Credit Brookhaven National Laboratory

Researchers at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) have set a Guinness World Record for highest man-made temperature after colliding gold nuclei at almost light-speed. The ion collision, which breaks down the neutrons and protons in the nuclei into quarks and gluons, resulted in plasma that measured about 7.2 trillion degrees Fahrenheit (4 trillion degrees Celsius) — about 250,000 times hotter than the center of the sun. Researchers found that this quark-gluon plasma exhibited "nearly perfect liquid behavior" — a phenomenon also found in matter near absolute zero — in which the matter flows with essentially zero friction. However, the RHIC may not hold the record for long: the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland is running an experiment called ALICE that may top the record, but researchers at the CERN Laboratory have yet to publish their findings.