Abstract:
We present the latest results for the equation of state and the crossover transition in 2+1 flavor QCD from the HotQCD Collaboration. Bulk thermodynamic quantities - energy density, pressure, entropy density, and the speed of sound - are calculated on lattices with temporal extent $N_t = 8$ in the temperature range 140 < T < 540 MeV. We utilize two improved staggered fermion actions, asqtad and p4, with the mass for the two degenerate light quarks chosen to be $m_{ud} = 0.1 m_s$, corresponding to $m_\pi \approx 220$ MeV for the lightest pion. We also calculate observables that are sensitive to the chiral and deconfing transitions - the light and strange quark number susceptibilities, the chiral condensate, and the renormalized Polyakov loop - finding that deconfinement and chiral symmetry restoration occur in the same narrow temperature interval.

Abstract:
This talk provides a summary of the results obtained by the HotQCD collaboration on the equation of state and the crossover transition in 2+1 flavor QCD. We investigate bulk thermodynamic quantities - energy density, pressure, entropy density, and the speed of sound over the temperature range 140 < T < 540 MeV. These results have been obtained on lattices of temporal size N_tau = 6 and 8 and with two improved staggered fermion actions, asqtad and p4. Our most extensive results are with masses of the two degenerate light quarks set at m_l = 0.1 m_s corresponding to the Goldstone pion mass m_pi between 220-260 MeV. In these simulations, the strange quark mass is tuned to its physical value and constant values of m_l/m_s define lines of constant physics. We also summarize the current state of results on observables sensitive to the chiral and deconfining physics -- the light and strange quark number susceptibilities, the chiral condensate and its susceptibility, and the renormalized Polyakov loop. Our results indicate that the deconfinement and chiral symmetry restoration occur in the same narrow temperature interval.

Abstract:
We present an overview of microscopical calculations of the Equation of State (EOS) of neutron matter performed using Quantum Monte Carlo techniques. We focus to the role of the model of the three-neutron force in the high-density part of the EOS up to a few times the saturation density. We also discuss the interplay between the symmetry energy and the neutron star mass-radius relation. The combination of theoretical models of the EOS with recent neutron stars observations permits us to constrain the value of the symmetry energy and its slope. We show that astrophysical observations are starting to provide important insights into the properties of neutron star matter.

Abstract:
The symmetry energy is an important quantity in the equation of state of isospin asymmetric nuclear matter. This currently unknown quantity is key to understanding the structure of systems as diverse as the neutron-rich nuclei and neutron stars. At TAMU, we have carried out studies, aimed at understanding the symmetry energy, in a variety of reactions such as, the multifragmentation of $^{40}$Ar, $^{40}$Ca + $^{58}$Fe, $^{58}$Ni and $^{58}$Ni, $^{58}$Fe + $^{58}$Ni, $^{58}$Fe reactions at 25 - 53 AMeV, and deep-inelastic reactions of $^{86}$Kr + $^{124,112}$Sn, $^{64,58}$Ni (25 AMeV), $^{64}$Ni + $^{64,58}$Ni, $^{112,124}$Sn, $^{232}$Th, $^{208}$Pb (25 AMeV) and $^{136}$Xe + $^{64,58}$Ni, $^{112,124}$Sn, $^{232}$Th, $^{197}$Au (20 AMeV). Here we present an overview of some of the results obtained from these studies. The results are analyzed within the framework of statistical and dynamical models, and have important implications for future experiments using beams of neutron-rich nuclei.

Abstract:
The nuclear mean-field potentials obtained in the Hartree-Fock method with different choices of the in-medium nucleon-nucleon (NN) interaction have been used to study the equation of state (EOS) of the neutron star (NS) matter. The EOS of the uniform NS core has been calculated for the np$e\mu$ composition in the $\beta$-equilibrium at zero temperature, using version Sly4 of the Skyrme interaction as well as two density-dependent versions of the finite-range M3Y interaction (CDM3Y$n$ and M3Y-P$n$), and versions D1S and D1N of the Gogny interaction. Although the considered effective NN interactions were proven to be quite realistic in numerous nuclear structure and/or reaction studies, they give quite different behaviors of the symmetry energy of nuclear matter at supranuclear densities that lead to the \emph{soft} and \emph{stiff} scenarios discussed recently in the literature. Different EOS's of the NS core and the EOS of the NS crust given by the compressible liquid drop model have been used as input of the Tolman-Oppenheimer-Volkov equations to study how the nuclear symmetry energy affects the model prediction of different NS properties, like the cooling process as well as the gravitational mass, radius, and moment of inertia.

Abstract:
We review the calculation of the equation of state of pure neutron matter using quantum Monte Carlo (QMC) methods. QMC algorithms permit the study of many-body nuclear systems using realistic two- and three-body forces in a nonperturbative framework. We present the results for the equation of state of neutron matter, and focus on the role of three-neutron forces at supranuclear density. We discuss the correlation between the symmetry energy, the neutron star radius and the symmetry energy. We also combine QMC and theoretical models of the three-nucleon interactions, and recent neutron star observations to constrain the value of the symmetry energy and its density dependence.

Abstract:
We calculate the equation of state in 2+1 flavor QCD at finite temperature with physical strange quark mass and almost physical light quark masses using lattices with temporal extent Nt=8. Calculations have been performed with two different improved staggered fermion actions, the asqtad and p4 actions. Overall, we find good agreement between results obtained with these two O(a^2) improved staggered fermion discretization schemes. A comparison with earlier calculations on coarser lattices is performed to quantify systematic errors in current studies of the equation of state. We also present results for observables that are sensitive to deconfining and chiral aspects of the QCD transition on Nt=6 and 8 lattices. We find that deconfinement and chiral symmetry restoration happen in the same narrow temperature interval. In an Appendix we present a simple parametrization of the equation of state that can easily be used in hydrodynamic model calculations. In this parametrization we also incorporated an estimate of current uncertainties in the lattice calculations which arise from cutoff and quark mass effects. We estimate these systematic effects to be about 10 MeV

Abstract:
We investigate the possibility to extract the symmetry energy from multifragmentation data. The applicability of the grandcanonical formula earlier proposed by Ono {\it et al.} [Phys. Rev. C {\bf 68}, 051601(R)] in the case of finite excited nuclei is tested within a microcanonical framework. Relatively good results are obtained except for large residual nuclei, especially when large sources are highly excited. Effects of secondary particle emission and the extent in which relevant information may be inferred from experimental observables are finally discussed.

Abstract:
The isoscaling parameter $\alpha$, from the fragments produced in the multifragmentation of $^{58}$Ni + $^{58}$Ni, $^{58}$Fe + $^{58}$Ni and $^{58}$Fe + $^{58}$Fe reactions at 30, 40 and 47 MeV/nucleon, was compared with that predicted by the antisymmetrized molecular dynamic (AMD) calculation based on two different nucleon-nucleon effective forces, namely the Gogny and Gogny-AS interaction. The results show that the data agrees better with the choice of Gogny-AS effective interaction, resulting in a symmetry energy of $\sim$ 18-20 MeV. The observed value indicate that the fragments are formed at a reduced density of $\sim$ 0.08 fm$^{-3}$.

Abstract:
The density dependence of the symmetry energy in the equation of state of isospin asymmetric nuclear matter is studied using the isoscaling of the fragment yields and the antisymmetrized molecular dynamic calculation. It is observed that the experimental data at low densities are consistent with the form of symmetry energy,E$_{sym}$ $\approx$ 31.6 ($\rho/\rho_{\circ})^{0.69}$, in close agreement with those predicted by the results of variational many-body calculation. A comparison of the present result with those reported recently using the NSCL-MSU data suggests that the heavy ion studies favor a dependence of the form, E$_{sym}$ $\approx$ 31.6 ($\rho/\rho_{\circ})^{\gamma}$, where $\gamma$ = 0.6 - 1.05. This constraints the form of the density dependence of the symmetry energy at higher densities, ruling out an extremely " stiff " and " soft " dependences.