The universe is home to many mysteries, but some of its largest unanswered questions are found in its smallest components. Guy Moore, a theorist with McGill University’s Department of Physics, is exploring quantum chromodynamics (QCD), a component of theoretical physics that explains the interactions of quarks and gluons, the fundamental elements that make up matter.
Quarks and gluons bind together to form protons and neutrons. QCD provides a basis for understanding how these elements form nuclei, which is the main question of nuclear physics and one of the mysteries being pursued at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.
Despite QCD being well established as a theory, it is not thoroughly understood. In particular, it is unclear what occurs when many quarks and gluons interact together simultaneously, a process known as “many-body QCD.” For instance, what happens when large nuclei collide with each other at rates near the speed of light? Understanding the nature of these interactions will provide a greater understanding about the early formation of the universe and aid in the general advancement of knowledge in physics.
Dr. Moore and his colleagues have devised a mathematical description that accounts for most aspects of many-body QCD, and are now seeking to complete and expand their formalism to tackle a larger set of physics questions. Currently, Dr. Moore’s process can only predict probabilities for one particle, but not those of correlated particles. He will use a similar methodology to explore questions about the origins of the universe, such as how the universe heated up at the end of inflation.