LHC Particle Soup Is the Hottest Thing Mankind Ever Made

By Leslie Horn on at

Scientists at CERN's Large Hadron Collider say they just temporarily created the hottest man-made temperature by colliding two lead ions.

According to a source working on the project, the collision sprung loose a plasma "soup" of sub-atomic gluons and quarks at an estimated temperature of 5.5-trillion-degrees. We won't know just how hot the plasma was for at least a few weeks because the measurements are very delicate and have to be converted to degrees. The consensus seems to be that it will shatter the previous record, which was about 4 trillion degrees.

The craziest thing is that this might not even be the hottest temperature ever. Scientists at Brookhaven Laboratory's Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) are still trying to figure out how hot a similar plasma they created last month is.

So let's review: two sub-atomic particle labs on opposite sides of the Atlantic both potentially broke a record for an obscenely hot temperature. It's a temperature so hot and so temporary, that they can't even measure it in degrees. No matter who holds the record, people win because science is awesome. [Nature and RHIC]

Image credit: Panos Karanpanagiotis/Shutterstock