This book gives an introduction to main ideas used in the physics of ultra-relativistic heavy-ion collisions. The links between basic theoretical concepts (discussed gradually from the elementary to more advanced level) and the results of experiments are outlined, so that experimentalists may learn more about the foundations of the models used by them to fit and interpret the data, while theoreticians may learn more about how different theoretical ideas are used in practical applications. The main task of the book is to collect the available information and establish a uniform picture of ultra-relativistic heavy-ion collisions. The properties of hot and dense matter implied by this picture are discussed comprehensively. In particular, the issues concerning the formation of the quark-gluon plasma in present and future heavy-ion experiments are addressed.
Basic Theoretical Ideas and Models Used in Description of Ultra-Relativistic Heavy-Ion Collisions; Relevant Physical Quantities and Main Experimental Observables; Thermodynamics of Strong Interactions; Glauber Model; Relativistic Kinetic Theory; Relativistic Hydrodynamics; Particle Interferometry; Statistical and Freeze-Out Models; Electromagnetic Signals; Hydrodynamic Interpretation of the Heavy-Ion Data from Relativistic Heavy-Ion Collider and Predictions for Large Hadron Collider