My research is in the field known as relativistic heavy ion physics, which is really the study of high energy nuclear collisions. The main goal of such work is to search for and characterize that state of strongly interacting matter at very high temperatures (in excess of a trillion Kelvin, or 100 MeV in energy units) and densities (10-100 times the already extraordinary density of ordinary nuclei). 

In the 1970’s some of this work was motivated by intriguing but speculative states of matter such as pion condensates. However, it was quickly realized that following the discovery of QCD that that state of nuclear matter would be a quark-gluon plasma (QGP), which initially was thought to directly exhibit the asymptotic freedom of liberated quarks and gluons. The major discovery in the field to date is that the QGP is not a plasma (as we ordinarily think about it) but a liquid. This discovery was made at RHIC and formally announced in 2005. 

Here are the various aspects of my research program through the years: