London: The hottest material ever created in the laboratory sounds like a weird drone - similar to a sound that may have pervaded the universe just after the big bang, when space was a seething cauldron of matter.
The Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider in Upton, New York, slams gold ions together, breaking the atoms and their constituent protons and neutrons into even smaller bits called quarks and gluons.
According to the New Scientist, the quark-gluon plasma is trillions of degrees and mimics conditions when the universe was a millionth of a second old. As the fireball created in this "little bang" cools, the individual quarks and gluons combine into a zoo of larger particles.
Fluctuations in density correspond to sound waves. So the researchers studied how the distribution of particles evolved in time to see how the sound changed. They then had to multiply the wavelengths of the sound by roughly 10 billion billion to be audible to the human ear.
The lower tones become more and more prominent as the fireball expands and the speed of sound changes due to the resulting drop in the fireball’s density.
About halfway through, a wiggle in the tone signals the point at which quarks and gluons recombine to form particles from protons to pions.