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New State of Matter?



Solids, liquids, and gases... all the typical phases of matter we have investigated since we learned about the water cycle in elementary school (evaporation, condensation, precipitation!). Since then, states of matter have been investigated in middle school science class, biology, chemistry, and physics. However, scientists are moving toward the forefront of discovery in trying to establish a new sort of state of matter.

This new state of matter is called quark-gluon plasma, and is being experimented with in a particle collider in Long Island. In this state of matter, the separation of parts would get down to the miniscule parts of the atomic structure: protons, neutrons, electrons, even the smaller quarks and gluons. This plasma is a mixture of free flowing quarks and gluons that exists at extremely high temperatures and densities in a laboratory setting. The difficulty in forming such a substance is that quarks are incredibly sociable and are difficult to keep independent, since they switch between "types" constantly. It is believed that when the Big Bang occurred, all matter existed for milliseconds as quark-gluon plasma.

Why create a new state of matter? Why go through all the trouble to split up some silly quarks? The answer lies in types of matter and energy. Once created, there is a possibility that quark-gluon plasma can transmute into new forms of matter or energy that can be harnessed and studied. These phase transitions can also reveal new information on forces of nature, including electrostatic force and weak and strong nuclear forces.

There ya have it: new states of matter! Until next time, Fizzix community, until next time.


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