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“I can really get my hands on the machine,” she said.Since June 2018, Reed has served as the RHIC users’ executive committee chair, where she represents RHIC’s researcher community.
She returned to RHIC, where she’s been running experiments since 2015.
When she visits the facility in person, she particularly likes building and modifying RHIC’s particle detectors.
The beam moves through a series of machines that accelerate the particles up to 99.995 percent the speed of light.
This chain of accelerators feeds the beams into narrow steel pipes running around a huge circular concrete tunnel.
Where the beams’ paths cross, the particles crash into each other.
The colliding particles produce temperatures up to four trillion degrees.This nuclear physics research facility mimics the staggeringly hot conditions that occurred 13 billion years ago just after the Big Bang.Such a unique facility requires an equally unique team to guide it.His responsibilities as BNL’s associate laboratory director for nuclear and particle physics focus on guiding the work and ensuring scientists have the resources they need.As the chair of the user executive committee, Reed represents the nearly 1,000 researchers who come to RHIC from around the world to run experiments.That’s 250,000 times hotter than the core of the sun.That energy “melts” the protons and neutrons, splitting them into their constituent quarks and gluons.Reed didn’t start her career expecting to study the smallest components of the universe.Although she studied physics in college, her first job was as a Silicon Valley engineer during the dot-com boom.To replicate the conditions at the beginning of the universe, RHIC produces the quark-gluon plasma (QGP). Unlike plasma in stars, QGP is the only substance in the universe where the quarks and gluons that make up all protons, neutrons, and other types of particles aren’t coupled together.Instead, quarks, anti-quarks, and gluons move freely.