What is ALICE?

ALICE detector
The ALICE Inner Tracking System. Image CERN
ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment @ CERN) is designed to study the physics of ultrahigh-energy proton-proton and lead-lead collisions. ALICE explores conditions in the first instants of the universe, a few microseconds after the Big Bang, when matter was in its primordial state, a 'soup' of quarks and gluons.

Scientists collaborating on the ALICE experiment study the properties of this state of matter, called a quark-gluon plasma, in order to explore how the strong force governs matter; why quarks are confined in matter, rather than appearing on their own; and why quarks have larger masses when confined in particles such as protons and neutrons.

Located 150 feet underground on the LHC ring, the ALICE detector is 52 feet high, 85 feet long, and weighs about 10,000 tons.

The ALICE collaboration comprises over 1000 physicists and engineers from 111 universities and laboratories in 31 countries. Scientists and students from twelve US universities and laboratories are members of the ALICE collaboration.

 For more about the quark-gluon plasma and ALICE, see The Science of ALICE.