Abstract:
We interpret the scaling of the corrected elliptic flow parameter w.r.t. the corrected multiplicity, observed to hold in heavy ion collisions for a wide variety of energies and system sizes. We use dimensional analysis and power-counting arguments to place constraints on the changes of initial conditions in systems with different center of mass energy $\sqrt{s}$. Specifically, we show that a large class of changes in the (initial) equation of state, mean free path, and longitudinal geometry over the observed $\sqrt{s}$ are likely to spoil the scaling in $v_2$ observed experimentally. We therefore argue that the system produced at most Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS) and Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) energies is fundamentally the same as far as the soft and approximately thermalized degrees of freedom are considered. The ``sQGP'' (Strongly interacting Quark-Gluon Plasma) phase, if it is there, is therefore not exclusive to RHIC. We suggest, as a goal for further low-energy heavy ion experiments, to search for a ``transition'' $\sqrt{s}$ where the observed scaling breaks.

Abstract:
We explain how fluctuations of ratios can constrain and falsify the statistical model of particle production in heavy ion collisions, using $K/\pi$ fluctuations as an example. We define an observable capable of determining which statistical model, if any, governs freeze-out in ultrarelativistic heavy ion collisions. We calculate this observable for $K/\pi$ fluctuations, and show that it should be the same for RHIC and LHC energies, as well as independent of centrality, if the Grand-Canonical statistical model is an appropriate description and chemical equilibrium applies. We describe variations of this scaling for deviations from this scenario, such as light quark chemical non-equilibrium, strange quark over-saturation and local conservation (canonical ensemble) for strange quarks. We also introduce a similar observable capable, together with the published $K^*/K$ measurement, of ascertaining if an interacting hadron gas phase governs the system between thermal and chemical freeze-out, and of ascertaining its duration and impact on hadronic chemistry.

Abstract:
We describe how the study of resonances and fluctuations can help constrain the thermal and chemical freezeout properties of the fireball created in heavy ion collisions. This review is based on [1–5]

Abstract:
We examine the scaling trends in particle multiplicity and flow observables between SPS, RHIC and LHC, and discuss their compatibility with popular theoretical models. We examine the way scaling trends between SPS and RHIC are broken at LHC energies, and suggest experimental measurements which can further clarify the situation

Abstract:
We give a pedagogical introduction (suitable to upper level physics undergraduates) to the field of ultrarelativistic heavy ion collisions. We pay particular attention to our understanding of the thermodynamic and hydrodynamic properties of the matter created in heavy ion collisions at RHIC energies.

Abstract:
We examine the "naturalness" of the scaling of multiplicity and elliptic flow $v_2$ with rapidity in weakly and strongly coupled systems. We show that multiplicity scaling is relatively straight-forward to incorporate in existing ansatze with no unnatural assumptions, and argue that this scaling is relatively insensitive to the transport properties of the system. On the other hand, we argue that the observed scaling of elliptic flow observed is problematic to describe within a hydrodynamic model (the Knudsen number $K \ll 1$), but arises more naturally within weakly coupled systems (where the Knudsen number $\sim 1$). We conclude by an overview of ways proposed to make weakly coupled systems compatible with the absolute value of elliptic flow, and by indicating experimental probes which could clarify these issues.

Abstract:
This dissertation examines the phenomenology of statistical hadronization at ultrarelativistic energies. We start with an overview of current experimental and theoretical issues in Relativistic heavy ion physics. We then introduce statistical hadronization, and show how it gives a description of particle abundances and spectra through covariance and entropy maximization. We argue that a distinction can be made between equilibrated staged freeze-out in which post-formation hadron interactions play an important role in determining final-state observables, and non-equilibrium sudden freeze-out where spectra and abundances get determined at the same time and further interactions are negligible. We attempt to falsify sudden freeze-out by examining whether particle abundances and spectra can be described using the same formation temperature. This is done both in the equilibrium framework, and using a chemical non-equilibrium ansatz. Our fits to experimental data suggest that the sudden freeze-out model explains both the particle abundances and spectra. We then try to extract the particle formation temperature, and quantify post-freeze-out hadronic interactions using experimentally observable resonances. We discuss observed resonances and suggest further measurements that have the potential to distinguish between the possible freeze-out scenarios experimentally. Finally, we infer from experimental data how particle formation proceeds in spacetime, in particular whether freeze-out dynamics agrees with the sudden freeze-out expectation. We examine particle spectra, and show that they are not sensitive enough to pick the right freeze-out dynamics. We suggest resonances and azimuthal anisotropy as experimental probes for this task.

Abstract:
We explain how event-by-event fluctuations of particle ratios can constrain and falsify the statistical model of particle production in heavy ion collisions, using $K/\pi$ fluctuations as an example. We define an observable capable of determining which statistical model, if any, governs freeze-out in ultrarelativistic heavy ion collisions. We calculate this observable for $K/\pi$ fluctuations, and show that it should be the same for RHIC and LHC energies, as well as independent of centrality, if the Grand-Canonical statistical model is an appropriate description and chemical equilibrium applies. We describe what happens in case of deviations from this scenario, such as light quark chemical non-equilibrium, strange quark over-saturation and local conservation (canonical ensemble) for strange quarks. We also introduce a similar observable capable, together with the published $K^*/K$ measurement, of ascertaining if an interacting hadron gas phase governs the system between thermal and chemical freeze-out, and of ascertaining its duration and impact on hadronic chemistry

Abstract:
We interpret the scaling of the corrected elliptic flow parameter w.r.t. the corrected multiplicity, observed to hold in heavy ion collisions for a wide variety of energies and system sizes. We use dimensional analysis and power-counting arguments to place constraints on the changes of initial conditions in systems with different center of mass energy $\sqrt{s}$. Specifically, we show that a large class of changes in the (initial) equation of state, mean free path, and longitudinal geometry over the observed $\sqrt{s}$ are likely to spoil the scaling in $v_2$ observed experimentally. We therefore argue that the system produced at most Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS) and Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) energies is fundamentally the same as far as the soft and approximately thermalized degrees of freedom are considered. The ``sQGP'' (Strongly interacting Quark-Gluon Plasma) phase, if it is there, is therefore not exclusive to RHIC. We suggest, as a goal for further low-energy heavy ion experiments, to search for a ``transition'' $\sqrt{s}$ where the observed scaling breaks.