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Strangeness in quark matter

22 September 2017

The 17th edition of the International Conference on Strangeness in Quark Matter (SQM 2017) was held from 10 to 15 July at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. The SQM series focuses on new experimental and theoretical developments on the role of strangeness and heavy-flavour production in heavy-ion collisions, and in astrophysical phenomena related to strangeness. This year’s SQM event attracted more than 210 participants from 25 countries, with 20% of attendees made up of female researchers. A two-day-long graduate school on the role of strangeness in heavy-ion collisions with 40 participants preceded the conference.

The scientific programme consisted of 53 invited plenary talks, 70 contributed parallel talks and a poster session. Three discussion sessions provided scope for the necessary debates on crucial observables to characterise strongly interacting matter at extreme conditions of high baryon density and high temperature and to define future possible directions. One of the discussions centred on the production of hadron resonances and their vital interactions in the partonic and hadronic phase, which provide evidence for an extended hadronic lifetime even in small collision systems and might affect other QGP observables. Moreover, future astrophysical consequences for SQM following the recent detection of gravitational waves were outlined: gravitational waves from relativistic neutron-star collisions can serve as cosmic messengers for the phase structure and equation-of-state of dense and strange matter, quite similar to the environment created in relativistic heavy-ion collisions.

Representatives from all major collaborations at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider and Super Proton Synchrotron, Brookhaven’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), and the Heavy Ion Synchrotron SIS at the GSI Helmholtz Centre in Germany made special efforts to release new data at this conference. Thanks to the excellent performance of these accelerator facilities, a wealth of new data on the production of strangeness and heavy quarks in nuclear collisions have become available.

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