An atom-smasher called the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) has just snagged a Guinness World Record for reaching the hottest man-made temperature ever — 250,000 times hotter than the centre of the sun.
The temperature was achieved when gold nuclei — the central part of the atom made of protons and neutrons that has a positive charge — were set zipping around an underground racetrack near light speed until they slammed into one another. When they collide you’re left with a soupy mix of particles called quarks and gluons.
This stew of subatomic particles formed a primordial plasma that scientists liken to the material that filled the universe just seconds after The Big Bang nearly 14 billion years ago. And it hit about 4.0 × 1012 degrees Celsius. Learn more here.