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CERN Physicists Generate Hottest Man-Made Temperatures Ever: ~5.5 Trillion K

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the time-for-s'mores dept.

Science 107

Diggester sends this quote from Nature News: "Physicists at CERN's Large Hadron Collider have achieved the hottest man-made temperatures ever, by colliding lead ions to momentarily create a quark gluon plasma, a subatomic soup and unique state of matter that is thought to have existed just moments after the Big Bang. The results come from the ALICE heavy-ion experiment — a lesser-known sibling to ATLAS and CMS, which produced the data that led to the announcement in July that the Higgs boson had been discovered. ALICE physicists, presenting on Monday at Quark Matter 2012 in Washington DC, say they have achieved a quark gluon plasma 38% hotter than a record 4 trillion degree plasma achieved in 2010 by a similar experiment at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York, which had been anointed the Guinness record holder."

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Meaningless (5, Funny)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#40988545)

Tell me the temperature in Celcius, I can't keep converting. :P

Re:Meaningless (-1, Redundant)

jimmetry (1801872) | more than 2 years ago | (#40988577)

It's a linear scale, buddy. For that order of magnitude, the 273 degree offset is completely irrelephant.

Re:Meaningless (-1, Redundant)

jimmetry (1801872) | more than 2 years ago | (#40988619)

Er, sorry, didn't mean to say linear. Fahrenheit is linear too, and completely different. It's parallel; a fixed offset.

Re:Meaningless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40988813)

you didn't get the joke (WHOOSH!) and instead of "irrelevant" you said something about elephants.

just quit while you're ahead. seriously you're starting to look dumb.

Re:Meaningless (3, Funny)

Omegawar (1314051) | more than 2 years ago | (#40989053)

irrelephant is a perfectly comulent word!

Re:Meaningless (4, Funny)

SomeJoel (1061138) | more than 2 years ago | (#40989479)

irrelephant is a perfectly comulent word!

It's cromulent. Besides, you're embiggening the trolls.

Re:Meaningless (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40989531)

I though you found irrelephant in a zoo?

Re:Meaningless (2)

Mister Liberty (769145) | more than 2 years ago | (#40989693)

The irrelephants are presently housed together with the sycophants,
since by themselves they drew too few spectators.

Re:Meaningless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40990403)

Come on guys, get serial. It's a very serial topic

Re:Meaningless (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 2 years ago | (#40989109)

irrelephants are the greatest new animal ever.

Re:Meaningless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40989387)

They're not that great. Some would even say they're rather unimportant.

Re:Meaningless (1)

rwise2112 (648849) | more than 2 years ago | (#40988653)

It's a linear scale, buddy. For that order of magnitude, the 273 degree offset is completely irrelephant.

I think that was the joke!

Re:Meaningless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40988781)

Thanks for explaining that! I thought the OP was just joking, but it's brilliant to hear you explain it in such a deadpan way!

Actually - seriously - I remember seeing this estimate for the lifespan of the universe in a heat-death scenario, before everything collapsed into blackholes or something, of 10^(10^76). And I remember thinking "c'mon, is that seconds or years?". And when you think about it, who cares? It makes +/-7 in 10^76 difference! It could be "lifetimes of universe so far" and it would make virtually no difference. Kinda funny when numbers can be so large that the order of magnitude is rounding error...

Re:Meaningless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40988805)

Heh, at that scale the conversion from Fahrenheit to Celsius is practically irrelevant.

Re:Meaningless (1)

froggymana (1896008) | more than 2 years ago | (#40988811)

It's a linear scale, buddy. For that order of magnitude, the 273 degree offset is completely irrelephant.

To be fair, it is 273.15 degrees off.

Re:Meaningless (1)

zill (1690130) | more than 2 years ago | (#40989011)

Since there are only 2 significant figures, it's both 5.5 trillion degrees Kelvin and 5.5 trillion degrees Celsius, hence the joke.

Re:Meaningless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40989429)

I guess you mean 5.5 trillion Kelvin?

Re:Meaningless (1)

zill (1690130) | more than 2 years ago | (#40990123)

Ooops, my bad. I hope my armchair physicist badge doesn't get confiscated for this.

Re:Meaningless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40990819)

Not just physicist; all your armchair scientist badges.

Pass the zinc oxide (1)

TiggertheMad (556308) | more than 2 years ago | (#40990637)

Since there are only 2 significant figures, it's both 5.5 trillion degrees Kelvin and 5.5 trillion degrees Celsius, hence the joke.

Its not the heat, its the humidity.

I was going to just fire that off as a one line zinger, but since pressure ~ temperature, I wonder if there were any stray atoms that got fused together in the process...

Re:Pass the zinc oxide (1)

sFurbo (1361249) | more than 2 years ago | (#40993777)

It's in a pretty good vacuum, and the volume is quite small (it starts out the size of two lead nuclei, after all), so probably not.

Re:Meaningless (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 2 years ago | (#40990409)

Most. Windy. Whoosh. Ever.

Re:Meaningless (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40988631)

I can only assume your comment was sarcastic? If not, since C and K use the same scale, but just offset about 273 degrees, I would note that 5.5 Trillion K about equals 5.5 Trillion C, especially since a couple hundred degrees is far and away below the significant digits we've been given. ^_^

Re:Meaningless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40988671)

"Slightly less hot than Jessica Alba".

Re:Meaningless (4, Funny)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#40988755)

"Slightly less hot than Jessica Alba".

Buddy, this is /.
In here, Natalie Portman (aka HotGrits) is the unit of hotness.

Re:Meaningless (3, Funny)

SolitaryMan (538416) | more than 2 years ago | (#40989557)

Buddy, this is /. In here, Natalie Portman (aka HotGrits) is the unit of hotness.

Not the unit, but the asymptotic limit. Therefore GP's usage of Jessica Alba was correct.

Re:Meaningless (2)

mrbester (200927) | more than 2 years ago | (#40990245)

Indeed. The unit of hotness is the Helen. Helen herself was so hot she had a Helen of more than 1 using the standard scale so the Troy Helen is used in her case.

Re:Meaningless (4, Funny)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | more than 2 years ago | (#40990515)

Indeed. The unit of hotness is the Helen.

So then a millihelen would be the amount of hotness needed to launch one ship?

Re:Meaningless (1)

mrbester (200927) | more than 2 years ago | (#40991535)

Correct.

Re:Meaningless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40993881)

You two are [Gg]r?eeks

Re:Meaningless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40996081)

Hate to burst the collective bubble, but Ms. Portman got married a few weeks back and now has a baby. Not that married mothers can't be insanely attractive, but the woman who represents the asymptotic limit of /. hotness should be somebody who's available, in the market, single, so as to maintain that false illusion that anyone socially inept to spend their time HERE would ever have a chance with her.

And I hate to burst GP's bubble, but Ms. Alba is married with multiple kids. Still a gorgeous lady, but disqualified as a /. "official unit of hotness" candidate.

Re:Meaningless (1)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 2 years ago | (#40990459)

If that unit is an irrational number. She looks like crack is the main component of her diet.

Re:Meaningless (1)

garyoa1 (2067072) | more than 2 years ago | (#40990983)

Yeah but no comparison to Robin Meade.

Re:Meaningless (1)

ModernGeek (601932) | more than 2 years ago | (#40993153)

So after years of wasting my life away here, I just now Google Image Searched her name (I don't believe it existed last time I looked for her), and now that I see her I KNOW WHAT THE DAMN FUSS IS ABOUT. DAMN! What do I do now that I've seen such beauty? Can I ever hope to fall in love with another woman? Will I ever see beauty in anybody else? Am I finally a true slashdotter? What do I do with myself now? How do we replicate this beauty so that we can all have her?

Re:Meaningless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40993175)

http://realdoll.com

Re:Meaningless (1)

ModernGeek (601932) | more than 2 years ago | (#40993209)

and she conducted research at Harvard?! What has this projection of perfection not done...

Re:Meaningless (4, Funny)

SolitaryMan (538416) | more than 2 years ago | (#40989521)

This is why they call it hottest Man-Made Temperature, rather than hottest Woman-Made.

Re:Meaningless (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40988753)

Actually, I would like to know if they used the long or the short scale [wikipedia.org] .
Saying "5.5 trillion" is ambiguous.

Re:Meaningless (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 2 years ago | (#40989277)

Indeed, on nature.com I would have expected something clearer like exponential notation.
Eric's answer to the first comment is even weirder:"It would be in Celsius. We’re metric around here. Cheers, Eric"
I'm pretty sure they work in Kelvin, for a US audience it would of course have been expressed as Rankin.

Re:Meaningless (1)

PT_1 (2425848) | more than 2 years ago | (#40990621)

Indeed, on nature.com I would have expected something clearer like exponential notation. Eric's answer to the first comment is even weirder:"It would be in Celsius. We’re metric around here. Cheers, Eric" I'm pretty sure they work in Kelvin, for a US audience it would of course have been expressed as Rankin.

I believe the last record was reported in short-scale, so 4 trillion = 4 x 10^12

So I suspect this one must be 5 x 10^12 unless they've broken the record by a significant amount. :-)

Re:Meaningless (4, Informative)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40990963)

If anything is published in a forum that also caters to Americans, you can safely assume that the short scale was used. While people elsewhere can convert, most Americans can't, whether this is due to ignorance, incompetence or hubris.

The long system makes more logical sense:

one billion = one million ^2
one trillion = one million ^3
one quadrillion = one million ^4

As opposed to the short system:

one billion = one thousand ^3
one trillion = one thousand ^4
one quadrillion = one thousand ^5

I.e. the name versus the exponent is always off by one.

Re:Meaningless (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 2 years ago | (#40988995)

It's about 9899999999540.33 Fahrenheit,if that helps.

Re:Meaningless (1)

Tarlus (1000874) | more than 2 years ago | (#40989593)

"Really fucking hot," in other words.

Re:Meaningless (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 2 years ago | (#40990429)

I think there may be some floating point error in there.

Re:Meaningless (1)

hendrikboom (1001110) | more than 2 years ago | (#40990079)

Did I miss where the original article and the summary mentioned the scale they were using? I didn't see a C, F, or K to disambiguate.

Re:Meaningless (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 2 years ago | (#40990117)

these are real scientists they are using K

Re:Meaningless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40990861)

Actual scientists are probably using eV...

Temperature units (1)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#40994621)

They should really get rid of Centigrade & Farenheit, and just have Kelvins

Meanwhile (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40988579)

ALICE still complaining that her feet are cold.

Hot Pockets (4, Funny)

AioKits (1235070) | more than 2 years ago | (#40988599)

Part of me thought that the story would at least involve Hot Pockets with a temperature range that high...

Re:Hot Pockets (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#40988703)

More like burritos, and the question of "could god eat one"?

Re:Hot Pockets (1)

Naatach (574111) | more than 2 years ago | (#40989087)

More like reheated Chinese food. I'd give it about 30 seconds to spontaneously cool to 4 or 5 C.

Re:Hot Pockets (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40989111)

Murder Pockets!

Re:Hot Pockets (1)

mrbester (200927) | more than 2 years ago | (#40990175)

Hot Pockets are still perishingly cold in comparison to a McDonalds Apple Pie.

Re:Hot Pockets (1)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#40994629)

What would they do w/ such temparatures? That's hot enough to vaporize anything & everything. I think crematoriums could use something like that.

Colliding Hardons (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40988625)

Well, when you collide enough hardons, its going to get pretty hot...

In case you were wondering... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40988649)

CERN Physicists turned the dial up to 11.

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40988655)

Drop it like it's quark gluon plasma?

Can I fry a buffalo with it? (1)

Tanlis (304135) | more than 2 years ago | (#40988661)

If I can fry a buffalo at that temperature under 40 seconds, I'm sold!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9EBhaULToU [youtube.com]

Quantum S'Mores (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#40988701)

I'll bring the chocolate bars, you bring the graham crackers!!

GW (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#40988733)

Does this mean CERN is behind global warming?

Re:GW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40988785)

Does this mean CERN is behind global warming?

No, just time travel.

Re:GW (4, Funny)

mmell (832646) | more than 2 years ago | (#40988959)

No, they're ahead of it.

Mmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40988765)

Subatomic soup

An interesting case of extremely LOCAL warming... (1)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | more than 2 years ago | (#40988821)

...which Slashdot's related-article-bot apparently DOES equate with "global warming".

Re:An interesting case of extremely LOCAL warming. (1)

Nrrqshrr (1879148) | more than 2 years ago | (#40988983)

It's good enough that the bot didn't see a hidden Bitcoin reference in this article...

How was it measured (3, Interesting)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 2 years ago | (#40988837)

Curious (and too lazy to google)-- At 5.5 trillion K, they aren't going to just stick a thermometer in there. How do they measure how hot the plasma was?

Re:How was it measured (3, Funny)

Voyager529 (1363959) | more than 2 years ago | (#40988909)

Curious (and too lazy to google)-- At 5.5 trillion K, they aren't going to just stick a thermometer in there. How do they measure how hot the plasma was?

They draw straws. Short straw puts their hand in and makes an educated guess.

Re:How was it measured (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40989089)

Curious (and too lazy to google)-- At 5.5 trillion K, they aren't going to just stick a thermometer in there. How do they measure how hot the plasma was?

Temperature is related to energy. So by measuring how much energy is in the quark-gluon plasma you can deduce its temperature.
Another example is how do you determine the surface temperature of stars ? We sure as hell don't send thermometers to the sun, or to other stars. So how do we know that the surface temperature of the sun is roughly 6000 K ? You mesure how much energy the sun radiates, and by using a theoretical model (known as a black body) you can establish a relationship between amount of radiated energy and temperature. Therefore you can deduce the temperature of the sun (or of other stars).

Re:How was it measured (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40990407)

Measuring the temperature of the sun is easy. Just do it at night.

Re:How was it measured (2)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40991267)

Another example is how do you determine the surface temperature of stars ? We sure as hell don't send thermometers to the sun, or to other stars. So how do we know that the surface temperature of the sun is roughly 6000 K ? You mesure how much energy the sun radiates, and by using a theoretical model (known as a black body) you can establish a relationship between amount of radiated energy and temperature. Therefore you can deduce the temperature of the sun (or of other stars).

No soup for you!

The temperature of stars is determined by the spectral qualities of the emitted light, measured by diffraction grating or spectral photometrics. Different temperatures cause different elements to be in different states, and different elements absorb different parts of the light spectrum.

Re:How was it measured (1)

socialleech (1696888) | more than 2 years ago | (#40992783)

How would you go about measuring the energy emitting out of a star? Probably something like measuring the spectrum qualities of the light being emitted....

Re:How was it measured (1)

moeinvt (851793) | more than 2 years ago | (#40989129)

It's certainly not a direct measurement. They're determining the energy and then deriving the temperature from that. I've no idea how. At normal temperatures, I can see how you could use the specific heat of the material to do that. So much energy with so much material = a certain increase in temperature.
I don't think that concept makes sense for a quark-gluon plasma however. The article mentioned that the measurement is relatively uncertain. I can imagine there would be problems associated with loss, and in containing the system.
Interesting question.

Re:How was it measured (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40989133)

Probably using a specialized technique which I have no idea of. From TFA:

ALICE spokesman Paolo Giubellino says that the team’s measurement is relatively uncertain and, moreover, they haven’t yet converted an energy measurement into degrees. But he says there’s no reason to suspect that the conversion won’t produce a number like 5.5 trillion degrees. “It’s a very delicate measurement,” he says. “Give us a few weeks and it will be out.”

Re:How was it measured (1)

theonesandtwos (1349467) | more than 2 years ago | (#40989205)

Apparently they do an energy measured to temperature conversion. It states as such in the article. Oh wait, I must be new here I RTFA.

Re:How was it measured (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 2 years ago | (#40989399)

I'm not sure about this particular case but at this range measuring the radiation or frequency/wavelength (or colour) is often used as the indicator.

Re:How was it measured (1)

mikael (484) | more than 2 years ago | (#40990397)

There are equations that relate to the frequencies of photons given off by the atoms as they collide. If you know how much matter you have injected into the system, how tightly confined the beams of atoms are, and how fast the ions are travelling, you can figure out the temperature at the time of collision.

Temperature is really just a measure of how much energy is stored in the electron orbitals.

Something feels hot simply because the electrons in your heat sensing receptor cells are gaining that much energy.

Re:How was it measured (1)

joe_frisch (1366229) | more than 2 years ago | (#40991461)

Its a pretty tricky question. At this sort of temperature 5 trillion degrees corresponds to something like 500MeV, easily enough energy to create particle / anti-particle pairs from the vacuum. So, the energy of the incoming lead ions winds up being distributed among a much larger number of particles. As the fireball expands, some of these will decay into other particles. You can work out the fireball conditions from the types and energies of the particles that are produced, but I don't think its at all simple. I don't know if the collisions last long enough for the system to reach anything like thermal equilibrium.

Re:How was it measured (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#40992047)

IANAP, so anything I say about tht can be quite wrong. But from what I remember from explanations about quark-glun plasma, it gets in thermal equlibium faster than the energy can be dissipated. Thermal equilibrium also doesn't resemble what you get in atoms.

Also, it dissipates by emmiting particles, and ALICE is a particle detector, so the energy was calculated by observing how the plasma decayed.

Re:How was it measured (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#40994279)

Temperature can be measured by the radiation spectrum.

If the collider fails... (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | more than 2 years ago | (#40988901)

...how quickly will your goose be cooked?

I wonder how it does on popcorn?

How hot is that compared to....Big Bang? (1)

robinsonne (952701) | more than 2 years ago | (#40988943)

Out of curiosity, how close is this to the temperature immediately after Big Bang? Hotter, colder? I only wonder when they talk about a gluon plasma...

Re:How hot is that compared to....Big Bang? (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 2 years ago | (#40990039)

Earliest calculatable time is the Planck second 10E-43 seconds. This is smallest resolvable time unit [wikipedia.org] in physical constants. This says [ucla.edu] 10^32 degrees K. At this temperature gravitation may unify with the other three universal forces.

Re:How hot is that compared to....Big Bang? (2)

drdread66 (1063396) | more than 2 years ago | (#40990581)

It's "colder" but you have to understand that the universe cooled rapidly in the time immediately after the big bang. as the U expanded, the energy contained it was spread over a much larger volume, which effectively means that said volume had a lower temperature as time went on. The same is true for the quark-gluon plasma described in the article. Roughly speaking, this QGP would have the same properties that the universe had roughly 1 microsecond after the big bang (my estimate, could be off by quite a bit). The goal in all this is not necessarily to recreate the big bang, but to probe the properties of the QGP, which is a very interesting condition. The other goal is to be able to examine the "freeze-out," when the expansion of the plasma lowers its temperatures enough that it's no longer a soup of free quakes & gluons, but instead those gluons condense into particles like protons, neutrons and exotics.

The reason the QGP is interesting is that it's a prediction of quantum chromodynamics ("QCD") that says that when you have high energy densities (ie high temperatures) in very small regions, quarks gain "asymptotic freedom" fom each other and are no longer forced to be bound into doublets and triplets (aka mesons and hadrons). This is exactly the opposite of the low-energy case, where it's theoretically not allowed for single quarks to be observed directly.

Long and short of it, this experiment allows physicists to study conditions that prevailed shortly after the big bang, and to test QCD in ways that we haven't been able to pursue until recently. It's pretty cool, 5.5 TK temperatures notwithstanding .

Re:How hot is that compared to....Big Bang? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40993649)

Still a long way off the energies we need to explore string theories, right?

see? (-1, Troll)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#40988947)

global warming is caused by socialist scientists

not god fearing oil companies

Oh yeah? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40989101)

And how did they measure that? As far as I know one needs a thermometer to measure temperature. Oh wait, they must have calculated it, or determined it "indirectly", by spectrometry or something. I guess we need to take it on faith, then.

Zero Kevins (5, Funny)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#40989113)

My home town nearly went to zero Kevins back in 1978.

It was a particularly cold winter, and we were already down to 3 Kevins (due to their low popularity at the time).

Kevin Thomas had flown out to be with his son's family for a wedding and got stuck in Boston for a whole week due to the weather. 2 Kevins left.

Kevin Lemmer was rushed to the hospital during my shift. I still remember the call from the EMTs as the ambulance was rushing toward us. "It's Lemmer. He's in bad shape. Drove right into the fucking ditch." We called the time of death at 6:15 PM.

At 6:16, all eyes turned to room 2217. Kevin Spencer was 82 and on his death bed with leukemia. His family being Catholic, he had already been given his last writes. If he couldn't hold out until Kevin Thomas returned, we would be at zero Kevins. Sure, we had 4 perfectly healthy Calvins, but they're just not the same.

It was 7:15 when Carla Brooks and her husband James burst through the main entrance. "She's not due for 2 weeks!", James exclaimed. As the staff bustled around getting the Brookses settled, they exchanged darting glances with each other. This was their first child, and they wanted to keep the baby's sex a secret. Of course, in a small town, secrets don't get kept. Nearly all of the hospital staff new that the child about to rip open Mrs. Brooks was indeed a boy.

The delivery was routine, and Kevin Brooks was born healthy, if a tad underweight, at 10:52 PM. Kevin Spencer was pronounced dead at 10:54.

It was, as they say, a close one. Kevin Thomas arrived two days later, the weather having finally cleared up. To this day, we still rib him about it.

Cedar Falls is currently at 5 Kevins.

Re:Zero Kevins (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40990273)

I have no moderation points, anonymous coward that I am but I tip my hat to you sir. That was a fine piece of writing.

Re:Zero Kevins (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40990677)

Do you post this to most of the stories that have to do with Kelvin? Like this one? http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1374351&cid=29472343 [slashdot.org]

Re:Zero Kevins (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40990747)

Thanks, I was about starting to reconsider my opinion of sexconker. That was pretty funny, but you only get credit for it once.

As Paris Hilton would say (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40989515)

'That's hot'

temperature (1)

multi io (640409) | more than 2 years ago | (#40989905)

Isn't "temperature" defined only for a system of many particles in some sort of thermodynamic equilibrium? I guess if you just crash highly accelerated particles into one another and convert the involved energies into a "temperature", you can arrive at pretty astonishing values, but you haven't really fulfilled the definition...

Re:temperature (1)

hendrikboom (1001110) | more than 2 years ago | (#40990213)

I'm not sure equilibrium is actually required, you could extrapolate from similar systems having similar energy distributed similarly among the constituent particles. Some such similar system might indeed be in equilibrium even of the one in the experiment isn't. And energy alone isn't enough to determine temperature -- there are pesky issues like heat capacity and such.

But I'd expect there have to be enough particles and energy states to make statistical talk is meaningful, and it's not clear to me that's the case.

Re:temperature (1)

raymansean (1115689) | more than 2 years ago | (#40993171)

I would imagine there there was more than enough particles/ sub particles present, even if there was only a zepto-mole of particles that Heisenberg would have said that two digits of precision is allowable.

Re:temperature (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40990461)

This is, in fact, a hotly (pun intended) researched topic. The surprising thing is that the quark gluon plasma generated in relativistic heavy ion collisions seems to equilibrate _very_ quickly. The timescale observed for equilibration is ~ 1 fm/c which is the amount of time it takes light to propagate one femtometer. This translates into ~ 3 x 10^(-24) seconds. The plasma phase lives for ~ 8 fm/c at LHC, so it's important to establish equilibrium quickly, otherwise, as you've pointed out, you have done nothing but made a very expensive firecracker. The equilibration time quoted above has been established from theoretical quantum chromodynamics calculations and also measured empirically by testing how well models which assume equilibrium at a particular time are able to fit the data.

Damn near (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40991189)

That's damn near hotter than Hillary Clinton in a burlap bikini!

Vulnerability exploit (2)

JOrgePeixoto (853808) | more than 2 years ago | (#40993133)

That's damn near hotter than Hillary Clinton in a burlap bikini!

That thought has overflowed a buffer in my brain, and I will now follow your orders.

Long scale or short scale? (1)

fabben (549965) | more than 2 years ago | (#40994755)

Is this "5.5 trillion degree" in short scale or the long scale? With short scale this is 5,500,000,000,000 degrees. With long scale it is one million times more...
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