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Hadron Physics

iThemba LABS has been a member of the ALICE Collaboration since 2008. Scientists in the department are involved in the physics program associated with the ALICE Collaboration at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN (Geneva, Switzerland).

The ALICE Experiment is searching for answers to fundamental questions, using the extraordinary tools provided by the LHC, like:

  • What happens to matter when it is heated to 100 000 times the temperature at the centre of the Sun?
  • Why do protons and neutrons weigh 100 times more than the quarks they are made of?
  • Can the quarks inside the protons and neutrons be freed?

One of the aims of this research is to understand a new state of matter called the quark-gluon plasma (QGP), a hot and dense soup of quasi-free quarks and gluons. The research areas of interest to the local group are the production of electroweak bosons and heavy quarks. iThemba LABS is also involved in the ALICE upgrade program.

Principal investigators:

Zinhle Buthelezi (iThemba LABS & Wits) (,

Siegfried Förtsch (iThemba LABS) (