CERN, the European physics lab responsible for discovering the Higgs boson just last month, has scored another major achievement in the realm of physics. No, scientists there haven't discovered any freaky new particles — they're just doing some pretty cool things with existing particles. Or should we say hot things: CERN scientists have created a "quark-gluon plasma" that clocks in at a balmy 5.5 trillion degrees.
Researchers believe that the mass of sub-atomic particles they created approximates the state of the universe immediately after the Big Bang. The ingredients for the mix were quite simple: two lead atoms, smashed.
When you're dealing with temperatures as high as these, collecting a precise measurement can be difficult. Scientists are only now working on the calculations to determine the exact quantity of heat present, but they're confident that the result will be greater than the previous high temperature of 4 trillion degrees.
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