GRK 881: Quantum Fields and Strongly Interacting Matter:
From Vacuum to Extreme Density and Temperature Conditions
Universität Bielefeld / Université Paris-Sud XI (Paris VI, Paris VII, Saclay)
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Profile of the International Research Training Group

The IRTG roots in well established contacts between the participating research groups in which arose from discussions and exchange of ideas on

  • common research topics that are attached by using different theoretical approaches:
    1. perturbative expansions vs. numerical simulations used to explore the equilibrium thermodynamics of hot and dense matter, the role of quasi-particles at high temperature as well as in-medium properties of hadrons, and
    2. analytic vs. numerical renormalization group approaches used to explore universal aspects of critical behaviour in quantum field theories

  • common research approaches pursued to deal with problems in different areas of particle physics:
    1. the numerical simulation of non-perturbative properties (condensates, hadron masses, decay constants) of strongly interacting particles at high temperature and in the vacuum performed on dedicated special purpose computers,
    2. the development and application of refined perturbative techniques to study the interaction of partons in the vacuum and in dense matter,
    3. the field theoretic description of non-equilibrium phenomena occurring in the early universe and in heavy ion physics.

    The objective of the IRTG is to amplify and broaden this basis for research and education on topics which are of central importance for our understanding of the interactions of elementary particles in the vacuum as well as at high temperature and densities.

    In its research program the IRTG focuses on collective phenomena and macroscopic properties of particle matter described by quantum field theories. These theories exhibit a complex, non-perturbative vacuum and a rich phase structure at high temperature or density, with important consequences in cosmology and heavy ion physics. To derive a quantitative understanding of these theories also requires the further development of numerical and analytical techniques beyond ordinary perturbative approaches.

    The IRTG has set up a study program in which the complementarity of numerical and analytic approaches to non-perturbative aspects of quantum field theories on one hand and the different focus put on vacuum and thermal properties of strongly interacting matter on the other are communicated to the graduate students. The post-graduates are integrated in a large international research program. They receive dedicated training locally and are brought into contact with the international community by various components of the program.

    The coordinated educational and research program of the IRTG is linked to a large international research program. Ongoing (RHIC, BNL) as well as planned (LHC, CERN and FAIR, GSI) experiments will perform studies of hot and dense matter for more than the next decade. A rapidly growing amount of astrophysical and cosmological data is coming in from microwave observations (WMAP, Planck), large galaxy surveys (SDSS, 6dF), space missions (XMM-Newton, Chandra) and radio-astronomy observatories. Research topics of the IRTG are subject of major international physics institutes and large international conference series.

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