Gabriel Silveira Denicol

Host institution

McGill University

Granting agency

NSERC

Project description

Reverse engineering the first microseconds of our universe

Physicists believe that, for a fleeting moment after the Big Bang, the entire universe was an ultra-hot soup of free moving elementary particles, called Quark-Gluon Plasma (QGP), a precursor to matter as we know it today. Currently, physicists at the world's most powerful particle collider are able to step back in time and actually recreate the QGP in a controlled setting.

But since QGP only exists at extremely high temperatures – a billion times hotter than the surface of the sun – it can only be re-created experimentally for a short time. Physicists are then limited to study the QGP produced only via its leftover fragments. The goal is to reverse engineer the properties of this novel state of matter and further develop our understanding of our universe in its early stages.

Dr. Gabriel Denicol has developed sophisticated numerical and theoretical models to study this primordial liquid recreated at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, including its equation of state and viscosity. McGill's nuclear theory group is using this model to upgrade their own software suited to simulate the behaviour and properties of QGP.

"Understanding and modeling strongly interacting relativistic liquids, such as the QGP, remains to this day a great theoretical and numerical challenge", says Denicol. "This research is a fundamental step in quantifying, more precisely than ever before, how nuclear matter behaves in extreme conditions of temperature and density."

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