Recreating the Results of the Big Bang


Researchers at Rechovot's Weizmann Institute, as part of a team of 460 physicists from 57 research institutions in 12 countries, are hot on the heels of reproducing matter as it first appeared in the universe, shortly after the "Big Bang"; this matter is called quark-gluon plasma. The international experiment, called PHENIX, brought together physicists from Brazil, China, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Russia, Sweden and the United States and was conducted at the Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, New York. According to the physicists taking part in the experiment, their recent findings could indicate that they have succeeded in artificially creating the quark-gluon plasma.

The Israeli team is led by Prof. Itzhak Tserruya, head of the Weizmann Institute's Particle Physics Department. Tserruya and his colleagues have designed and built unique particle detectors that are a central part of PHENIX's detecting system. The detectors are capable of providing three-dimensional information on the precise location of subatomic particles that need to be tracked for the experiment to succeed. Apart from Prof. Tserruya, the Weizmann team that designed and built the detectors included Prof. Zeev Fraenkel, Dr. Ilia Ravinovich, postdoctoral fellow Dr. Wei Xie and graduate students Alexandre Kozlov, Alexander Milov and Alexander Cherlin. Prof. Tserruya's research is supported by Nella and Leon Benoziyo Center for High Energy Physics. Prof. Tserruya is the incumbent of the Samuel Sebba Professorial Chair of Pure and Applied Physics.