The Exploration of Hot QCD Matter

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When nuclear matter is heated beyond a temperature of 2 trillion

degrees, it converts into a strongly coupled plasma of quarks and

gluons, the sQGP. Experiments using highly energetic collisions

between heavy nuclei have revealed that this new state of matter is a

nearly ideal, highly opaque liquid. A description based upon string

theory and black holes in five dimensions has made the quark- gluon

plasma an iconic example of a strongly coupled quantum system. In this

lecture I will survey the observed properties of the sQGP in the light

of the latest results from RHIC and LHC. On the theoretical side, I

will discuss the thermalization and entropy production problem and

origin and role of event-by-event fluctuations.