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Strangeness at RHIC

Contributors: M. Savage and R. Springer.

The role that strangeness will play at the RHIC facility in the identification of the quark-qluon plasma (QGP) was not discussed during the meeting. However, considerable work has been devoted to examining the flavor structure of a QGP, and how this might be reflected in the hadronic decay products following the transition back to low temperatures and densities, for instance, $J/\psi$-suppression[30] (for a recent review see[31]) and strange baryon production[32,33]. Discussions during the meeting (and the subsequent Physics of Strangeness program) made clear the present limits of our understanding of the strong interactions among non-strange hadrons and strange hadrons, even at nuclear density and zero temperature. If strangeness is to be used as an indicator of strong interaction structure beyond the hadronic phase[32] then the strangeness behavior of the pure hadronic phase must be understood. At present it is not. Therefore, if flavor-tagging is to be used in the identification of a QGP, it is vital that experimental investigations of the interactions of strange hadrons continue. This includes a coherent hypernuclear physics program.

Martin Savage