The highest temperature anywhere on Earth ever, anywhere in today’s universe for all I know, has been briefly inferred in the teeny fireballs of colliding particles at the US’s Brookhaven National Laboratory. The Guinness World Record people are in agreement. To set the mark, the physicists banged gold nuclei into each another at near-light speed. They have a whole program devoted to smashing gold that way. This record is just a footnote. But superlatives are natural stories. They grab eyeballs (Fastest! Smallest! Densest! Farthest! Anythingest! will do). Hottest makes the A-list.
But this has the advantage of not only being cutting edge science (quark gluon soup comes up), but of letting us know that while Europe has the Large Hadron Collider and is thus glamour queen of high energy particle physics, the US still does have machines hard at work and with PhD physicists at the helm. This is so even with Fermilab’s Tevatron shuttered and the lab’s public affairs shop reduced to inviting reporters to see new calves in its bison herd as about the only thing going on. Yes, that’s an exaggeration. But Tevatron is dark.
- LA times – Thomas H. Maugh II:Physicists produce highest man-made temperature: 7 trillion degrees.
- LiveScience – Jeanna Bryner: 7 trillion degrees Fahrenheit: Atom-smashing physicists break temperature record (+ video) ; It won’t last, she reports, as did Maugh one story up. The LHC is sure to trump the record by immolating relativistic lead nuclei head-on.
- CBS News – Bailey Johnson: Four Trillion Degrees: US Lab Hits Record Temp ; That’s centigrade, Yanks.
- Daily Mail – Eddie Wrenn: The latest Guinness Record Breaker: Scientists create hottest temperature since Big Bang – 250,000 times more scorching than our Sun;
- Live Science (March 8, 2006) Ker Than: Record Set for Hottest Temperature on Earth: 3.6 Billion Degrees in Lab ; Poor Z-Machine, once hottest, now not. Many a Hollywood person knows the feeling ….
Grist for the Mill: Guinness record announcement ;
– Charlie Petit
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