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Bill Zajc of Columbia University and Krishna Rajagopal of MIT presented two exciting and most excellent talks on the status of production of quark gluon plasma at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) and related theoretical issues. They discussed the use of the AdS/CFT correspondence between a string theory that lives in AdS5 X S5 and N=4 Super Yang Mills (what Rajagopal called the spherical cow theory because of its ubiquity in these calculations) to infer results for quark gluon plasmas in QCD. This work is particularly remarkable because of the failure of perturbation theory in QCD at these energies (this is the strong coupling limit that I describer earlier), and the fact that the AdS/CFT correspondence was used to extract predictions from string theory that were then bootstrapped for QCD.

Both talks were (shockingly) presented at a level accessible to grad students. See the PIRSA for the talk.

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