I study how ordinary matter behaves in extraordinary conditions.
Ultrarelativistic nuclear collisions in modern particle colliders -- such as the LHC at CERN -- smash together atomic nuclei creating a fireball so hot (about a million times the temperature of the core of the sun!) that protons and neutrons melt to their fundamental constituents and a new form of elementary particle matter, Quark Matter, is created. This soup of elementary particles filled the universe when it was in its infancy and it has been conjectured that it may be found in the cores of the most dense astrophysical objects, in the cores of neutron stars.
How quark matter behaves and under which conditions it is formed is governed by the fundamental theory of Quantum Chromodynamics or QCD -- the part of the Standard Model of particle physics responsible for the strong nuclear interactions. My research utilises QCD to model the nuclear collisions and cores of neutron stars and leverages the synergies between particle physics and astrophysics.
On phenomenology of neutron stars and quark matter:
- E. Annala, T. Gorda, A. Kurkela, J. Nättilä and A. Vuorinen, Evidence for quark-matter cores in massive neutron stars, Nature Phys. (2020), [arXiv:1903.09121 [astro-ph.HE]].
- T. Gorda, A. Kurkela, P. Romatschke, M. Säppi and A. Vuorinen, Next-to-Next-to-Next-to-Leading Order Pressure of Cold Quark Matter: Leading Logarithm, Phys. Rev. Lett. 121 (2018) no.20, 202701, [arXiv:1807.04120 [hep-ph]].
- E. Annala, T. Gorda, A. Kurkela and A. Vuorinen, Gravitational-wave constraints on the neutron-star-matter Equation of State, Phys. Rev. Lett. 120 (2018) no.17, 172703, [arXiv:1711.02644 [astro-ph.HE]].
- A. Kurkela and A. Vuorinen, Cool quark matter, Phys. Rev. Lett. 117 (2016) no.4, 042501[arXiv:1603.00750 [hep-ph]].
On far-from-equilibrium quantum fields and thermalization:
- D. Almaalol, A. Kurkela and M. Strickland, Non-equilibrium attractor in high-temperature QCD plasmas, Phys. Rev. Lett. 125 (2020) no.12, 122302, [arXiv:2004.05195 [hep-ph]].
- A. Kurkela, W. van der Schee, U.A. Wiedemann and B. Wu, Early- and Late-Time Behavior of Attractors in Heavy-Ion Collisions, Phys. Rev. Lett. 124 (2020) no.10, 102301 [arXiv:1907.08101 [hep-ph]].
- A. Kurkela and E. Lu, Approach to Equilibrium in Weakly Coupled Non-Abelian Plasmas, Phys. Rev. Lett. 113 (2014)no.18, 182301[arXiv:1405.6318 [hep-ph]].
On phenomenology of ultrarelativistic heavy-ion collisions:
- A. Kurkela and A. Mazeliauskas, Chemical Equilibration in Hadronic Collisions, Phys. Rev. Lett. 122 (2019), 142301 [arXiv:1811.03040 [hep-ph]].
- A. Kurkela, A. Mazeliauskas, J. F. Paquet, S. Schlichting and D. Teaney, Matching the Nonequilibrium Initial Stage of Heavy Ion Collisions to Hydrodynamics with QCD Kinetic Theory, Phys. Rev. Lett. 122 (2019) no.12, 122302,[arXiv:1805.01604 [hep-ph]].
- A. Kurkela and Y. Zhu, Isotropization and hydrodynamization in weakly coupled heavy-ion collisions, Phys. Rev. Lett. 115(2015) no.18, 182301[arXiv:1506.06647 [hep-ph]].
Some news articles and interviews in international media:
- Neutron stars show their cores, home.cern 2020
- Why are big neutron stars like Tootsie Pops?, Popular Science 2020
- Neutron stars may contain free quarks, physicsworld 2020
- Gravitational waves shed light on neutron star interiors, Sky and Telescope 2018
- Gravitational Waves Shed Light on Dense Nuclear Matter, APS physics 2018
- Physicists prepare to detect gravitational waves from neutron star collisions, phys.org 2016
- Gravitational Waves to Crack Neutron Star Mystery, Space.org 2016
- Cool quarks, APS physics 2010
- 2015- Associate professor at UiS
- 2015-2020 Staff member at CERN
- 2013-2015 Marie Curie senior fellow at CERN
- 2010-2013 Postdoctoral research fellow at McGill University
- 2008-2010 Postdoctoral research fellow at ETH Zürich
- 2006-2008 PhD in physics at University of Helsinki