Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2017

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Engineering Physics

First Advisor

Paul Romatschke

Second Advisor

Paul Beale

Third Advisor

Andrew Hamilton


Relativistic viscous hydrodynamics has been successful in describing the quark-gluon plasma formed in collisions between heavy ions at RHIC and the LHC. Recently, experiments on proton-proton collisions at the LHC have provided evidence that collisions involving light ions may likewise be amenable to a hydrodynamic description. In order to test such a description, I simulate p+p, central p+Pb, and central Pb+Pb collisions at center-of-mass energies of 5.02 TeV using the superSONIC model, which combines strongly-coupled pre-equilibrium flow, 2+1D relativistic viscous hydrodynamics, and late-stage hadronic rescatterings. The initial conditions for hydrodynamics are generated using a Monte Carlo Glauber model in which each nucleon is composed of three valence quarks. Results from the simulations are compared with experimental data from the ATLAS, ALICE, and CMS experiments. In particular, the hydrodynamic approach reproduces the observed distribution of particle multiplicities in p+p collisions, and further achieves a quantitatively accurate description of the elliptic, triangular, and quadrangular flow coefficients in all three collision systems. This suggests that the flow observed in small collision systems shares a common hydrodynamic origin with that observed in large collision systems.

Included in

Nuclear Commons