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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Soft hadronic physics at RHIC


Although soft hadronic observables do not probe the early stages of a nucleus-nucleus collision directly, the data can be used to constrain the evolutionary path of the system. I review some of the experimental data from the first year of RHIC operations with Au+Au at sqrt(s)=130 GeV. This data includes particle yields, momentum spectra, and two-particle correlations. The data point to a system that develops strong radial flow and expands to roughly twice the size of the initial system before kinetic freeze-out. The data also suggest a multi-stage freeze-out, where the particle abundances are fixed at an earlier time compared to the end of elastic interactions.

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