ALICE experiment

The ALICE experiment studies the composition of matter as it existed shortly after the Big Bang. At that moment, our universe was filled with a primordial “soup” called quark-gluon plasma. ALICE scientists study this primitive state of matter by re-creating it using collisions of lead nuclei at the LHC. These heavy-ion collisions generate temperatures that are 100,000 times hotter than the center of the sun and simulate the conditions that existed immediately after the Big Bang.

About 75 physicists, engineers, graduate and undergraduate students from 14 US institutions participate in ALICE.

ALICE-USA collaborated with institutions in France and Italy to construct the experiment’s electromagnetic calorimeter, which was installed in 2011. They also helped create the second hadronic calorimeter, which was installed in the detector in 2014 and helps scientists determine the energy of jets created during the high-energy particle collisions. US groups have also developed control and tracking systems and have made significant contributions in software, hardware and computing support over the last ten years.


The ALICE detector

Total weight: 10,000 tons

Overall height: 52 feet

Overall length: 85 feet

Data rate: 1.25 gigabytes per second stored

Collaborating scientists:

1,500 worldwide

75 US scientists


37 countries

9 US states

12 US universities and 2 national laboratories

Cost of US construction project:

$17.2 million


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