By Andy Fell
Published on September 18 in Driven by Curiosity
Physics Professor Manuel Calderón de la Barca Sánchez and his students are using the largest and most complex machine ever built to probe the strongest force in nature at the tiniest of scales.
“In a nutshell we’re trying to recreate a state of matter that existed about a microsecond after the Big Bang,” he said.
Calderón de la Barca Sánchez and graduate students Graham Waegel, Jared Jay, Ota Kukral and Santona Tuli are among a team of about 100 scientists running “heavy ion” experiments with the Compact Muon Solenoid detector, part of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, Switzerland. They are trying to create a state of matter called the quark-gluon plasma by smashing nuclei of lead atoms into each other.