Organizers:
Volker Koch
Gunther Roland
Mikhail Stephanov
Program Coordinator: Application form Exit report

July 28  August 22, 2008
The phase diagram of QCD is a subject of active theoretical and experimental research. The focus of this program is on properties of the phase diagram which can be studied by the upcoming heavyion collision experiments at RHIC/BNL, as well as SPS/CERN and FAIR/GSI. The QCD critical point, terminating a firstorder phase transition line, is one of the most basic features that could be discovered in these experiments. Such a discovery would define the landscape of the QCD phase diagram. Recent extensive Lattice QCD calculations have conclusively demonstrated that the temperature driven transition at zero baryon chemical potential is an analytic crossover. On the other hand, past and recent model calculations, as well as studies of the colorsuperconducting phase, strongly suggest a first order phase transition between the hadronic and quarkgluon plasma phases at large baryon chemical potential and lower temperature. Taken together, these two features would require existence of a critical point, at which, as the chemical potential is decreased and the temperature is increased, the first order transition line terminates and turns into a crossover. At the critical point the hadronic and the quarkgluon QCD phases, coexisting along the firstorder line, fuse into one phase. At the critical point the first order transition becomes continuous, resulting in longrange correlations and fluctuations at all length scales. Such peculiar properties of the equation of state open possibilities for distinct experimental signatures which can be used to discover the critical point. In a mathematical sense, the critical point is a true thermodynamic singularity of QCD. Its experimental discovery will put a permanent mark on the QCD phase diagram and anchor the location of the first order boundary. The purpose of this program is to bring together theorists and experimentalists to assess possibilities to discover the QCD critical point in relativistic heavy ion collisions. Specifically, the program goals are to:
