After a very brief overview recollecting the 'classic' parts of QCD, that is its application to describe hard processes and static properties of hadrons, I survey recent work - some very recent - on QCD at non-zero temperature and density. At finite temperature and zero density there is a compelling theoretical framework allowing us to predict highly specific, non-trivial dependence of the phase structure on the number of flavors and colors. Several aspects have been rigorously, and successfully, tested against massive numerical realizations of the microscopic theory. The theoretical description of high density is nowhere near as mature, but some intriguing possibilities have been put forward. The color/flavor locked state recently proposed for three flavors has many remarkable features connected to its basic symmetry structure, notably including chiral symmetry re-breaking and the existence (unlike for two flavors) of a gauge invariant order parameter. I survey potential applications to heavy ion collisions, astrophysics, and cosmology. A noteworthy possibility is that stellar explosions are powered by release of QCD latent heat.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics