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QCD predicts that strongly interacting matter will undergo a transition from a state of hadronic constituents to a plasma of unbound quarks and gluons. We first survey the conceptual features of this transition and its description in finite temperature lattice QCD, before we address its experimental investigation through high energy nucleus-nucleus(More)
The deconfinement transition in SU(2) gauge theory and the magnetization transition in the Ising model belong to the same universality class. The critical behaviour of the Ising model can be characterized either as spontaneous breaking of the Z 2 symmetry of spin states or as percolation of appropriately defined spin clusters. We show that decon-finement in(More)
During the past fifty years, our concept of an elementary particle has undergone a fundamental change. Today we understand hadrons as bound states of quarks, and thus as composite. In strong interaction physics, quarks have become the smallest building blocks of nature. But the binding force between quarks confines them to their hadron, which cannot be(More)
Finite temperature lattice QCD indicates that the charmonium ground state J/ψ can survive in a quark-gluon plasma up to 1.5 T c or more, while the excited states χ c and ψ ′ are dissociated just above T c. We assume that the χ c suffers the same form of suppression as that observed for the ψ ′ in SPS experiments, and that the directly produced J/ψ is(More)
At high temperatures or densities, hadronic matter shows different forms of critical behaviour: colour deconfinement, chiral symmetry restoration, and diquark condensation. I first discuss the conceptual basis of these phenomena and then consider the description of colour deconfinement in terms of symmetry breaking, through colour screening and as(More)