André Walker-Loud

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA.

QCD: The Most Perfect Physical Theory (until one wants to compute properties of matter)


Quantum ChromoDynamics (QCD) is the fundamental theory describing almost all of the matter we know about. From the initial big bang, to the formation of protons and neutrons and the lightest nuclear elements, to the solar fusion that powers the stars and creates Carbon-12, and finally to the death of stars and the formation of white dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes, QCD plays a central role in these wonderful dynamics. Yet the theory of QCD is non-perturbative and evades an analytic solution, leaving us with very little quantitative connections between the fundamental nuclear strong force and these rich phenomena. I will describe how, with the aid of the world's biggest computers, we are able to compute some of the simplest properties of matter directly from QCD, including initial steps to understanding the interactions between protons and neutrons (and hyperons). Further, with the deployment of the next generation of supercomputers in the coming few years, we will be able to investigate more interesting properties and interactions of these fundamental building blocks to the universe and life as we know it.


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