PHENIX, the Pioneering High Energy Nuclear Interaction eXperiment, is located at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, New York. More than 500 scientists and engineers from around the world are collaborating in this experiment. The primary objective of PHENIX is to discover and study an exciting new state of matter called the quark-gluon plasma. Other important goals include learning where the proton gets its spin and studying matter under extreme temperatures and pressures.
PHENIX uses BNL's Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider - a 2.4-mile circumference particle accelerator - to accelerate gold nuclei and polarized protons into collisions at the highest-energy density in the world. These collisions enable scientists to examine the quarks and gluons present in these heavy ions.
The PHENIX collaboration has been studying these collisions for over 10 years, and ACU's Nuclear Physics Research Team has contributed to this study from the beginning. Since 1999, 36 ACU students have been involved with this research, constructing the detectors and tracking the particles that emerge from these collisions. They measure and analyze the data, trying to understand what is inside a proton. Every PHENIX publication has included at least one member of ACU's team as an author, thanks to the contributions of our faculty and students to this work.
Learn more about PHENIX research in this post from the ACU Physics blog
Link to a 2004 PHENIX paper with nine ACU undergraduates as co-authors