The microscopic properties of the strongly coupled quark-gluon plasma (QGP) remain a topic of great current interest. We discuss a quantum many-body approach based on quark and gluon degrees of freedom that tries to address this challenge. Its starting point is the heavy-flavor sector where the large masses of the charm and bottom quarks enable substantial simplifications in the treatment of the in-medium one- and two-body correlation functions. The key ingredient is the in-medium two-body force which we constrain through lattice-QCD data for the heavy-quark free energy and euclidean quarkonium correlation functions. We apply this framework to compute transport parameters for heavy-quark diffusion and quarkonium kinetics and pertinent observables in heavy-ion collisions. Finally, based on a fit to the lattice-QCD equation of state using thermal quark and gluon masses, we proceed to analyze the spectral and transport properties of the QGP. Remnants of the confining force in the QGP are found to play a dual role of generating its strong-coupling behavior while also triggering a transition from melting-parton to broad hadronic-bound state degrees of freedom.
Zoom link will be available via announcement email, or by contacting: stroberg[at]uw.edu.