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Audit Report: IG-0543

March 6, 2002

Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider Project

The Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), located at Brookhaven National Laboratory, is the world's newest and largest particle accelerator for nuclear physics research. RHIC was constructed between 1991 and 1999 at a reported cost of $617 million and is designed to enhance scientific exploration by advancing our understanding of the most basic constituents that make up the matter in our universe. The accelerator features a pair of superconducting magnetic rings, 2.4 miles in circumference, which circulate beams of heavy ions in opposite directions at nearly the speed of light. Where the ions collide at crossing points around the rings, sophisticated detectors are used to help scientists gain insights into the characteristics of quarks and gluons, two fundamental building blocks of matter.