Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

James L. Nagle

Second Advisor

Dennis V. Perepelitsa

Third Advisor

Paul Romatschke

Fourth Advisor

John Cumalat

Fifth Advisor

Benjamin Brown


The present dissertation consists of two distinct parts. The first one is a comprehensive study of collective behavior in small collision systems from the point of view of kinetic theory, in which the medium formed in heavy-ion collisions is modeled as a collection of interacting quasiparticles. We investigate how parton scattering, where individual partons undergo very few scatters, can translate the initial collision geometry to final-state azimuthal anisotropy, yielding results in agreement with experimental data in a variety of systems, from 3He+Au to p+p collisions, and over a wide range of collision energies, prompting the question of the minimal conditions for collective behavior to appear within this framework.

The second part consists of an experimental measurement of the charm and bottom decay electron cross section in p+p collisions at √sNN = 200 GeV using the PHENIX detector at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider. Unlike previous measurements of inclusive heavy flavor electrons, we present a measurement of each flavor separately. The measurement proceeds by identifying a candidate sample of electron tracks, constructing a simulated electron cocktail to isolate the electron candidates from heavy flavor decays, and using a Bayesian inference procedure to statistically determine the provenance of electrons based on precise displaced vertex measurements. The resulting electron cross sections are consistent with perturbative QCD calculations, exhibiting small uncertainties and large kinematic reach, making them valuable baseline measurements for the future study of in-medium heavy flavor modification in other collision systems, such as A+A and p+A.