In June 2000, the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory produced its first collisions of Au ions at center-of-mass energies of sqrt(s) = 56, and 130 AGeV, the highest energies at which heavy ions have been collided in the laboratory. These collisions were observed by four experiments positioned around the RHIC accelerator: STAR, PHENIX, BRAHMS and PHOBOS. The ultimate goal of all of these experiments is to study the nature of the QCD vacuum at very high energy densities, with the hope of gaining evidence for a new, de-confined state of nuclear matter in which quarks and gluons freely interact with each other, rather than being trapped inside hadrons as is the case for normal nuclear matter. Already some early physics results are beginning to emerge from these data. An update on the performance of the RHIC accelerator will be presented, as well as some preliminary experimental results, with particular emphasis placed on data obtained from PHOBOS, one of the two "small" detectors at RHIC.
ANL Physics Division Colloquium Schedule