University of Tennessee Physics


Dr. Soren Sorensen

Professor and Department Head
Ph.D., Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, 1981

Office:      401 Nielsen Physics Building
Phone:      865-386-7051
Fax:          865-974-7843
Web Site:


The research interests of the Relativistic Heavy Ion Physics group are focused on heavy ion collisions at ultrarelativistic energies, which is an exciting new field on the borderline between nuclear and high energy physics. Over the last two decades our group has primarily studied the following three topics:

  • Nuclear Matter at Extreme Temperatures and Densities: We are investigating the properties of nuclear matter at high densities and temperatures with special emphasis on detecting the Quark-Gluon Plasma (QGP), which is a postulated new phase of nuclear matter where quarks and gluons are deconfined over a large volume.
  • Modification of Vector Meson Properties in Hot and Dense Nuclear Matter: Among the many proposed signatures for the QGP, we are convinced that the proposed modifications of the properties of vector mesons in hot and dense nuclear matter provides the best tool for observing the QGP and for measuring the properties of the QGP. We are specifically studying the production of the J/psi and the Upsilon resonances using the PHENIX muon detector.
  • Nuclear Stopping Power and Attained Energy Densities: The most important prerequisite for the creation of the QGP in ultra-relativistic heavy ion reactions is a large nuclear stopping power so that sufficiently high energy densities will be achieved in the central fireball. We have studied this topic through calorimetric measurements at WA98 and through slow proton emission in the target fragmentation region at E910.

Brief Vita

I was born on August 24, 1950 in Denmark and grew up in the suburbs of Copenhagen. I attended the University of Copenhagen and majored in Math and Physics. In 1977 I received a Masters Degree from The Niels Bohr Institute (Thesis: "Fusion of 16O + 16O") and in 1981 got the PhD from the same place (Thesis: "Quasielastic Transfer Reactions induced by 56Fe on 58Ni, 64Ni and 122Sn"). From 1981 to 1984 I was a post-doc at The Niels Bohr Institute, and spent a year from 1982-83 at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. In December 1984 I began my appointment at The University of Tennessee as an assistant professor in nuclear physics. I have been a Volunteer ever since, apart from 18 months as a visitor at CERN, Geneva in 1986-87. In 2000 I was appointed Head of the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Detailed Information

My detailed CV from the database of the Department of Physics and Astronomy

Publication information from SLAC SPIRES High Energy Physics Database:

This page was last updated on July 17, 2008.
Please send comments to or Soren Sorensen