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In high energy p+p(bar) interactions the mean multiplicity and transverse mass spectra of neutral mesons from eta to Upsilon (m = 0.5 - 10 GeV/c^2) and the transverse mass spectra of pions (m_T > 1 GeV/c^2) reveal a remarkable behaviour: they follow, over more than 10 orders of magnitude, the power-law function:The parameters C and P are energy dependent, but similar for all mesons produced at the same collision energy. This scaling resembles that expected in the statistical description of hadron production: the parameter P plays the role of a temperature and the normalisation constant C is analogous to the system volume. The fundamental difference is, however, in the form of the distribution function. In order to reproduce the experimental results and preserve the basic structure of the statistical approach the Boltzmann factor e^(-E/T) appearing in standard statistical mechanics has to be substituted by a power-law factor (E/Lambda)^(-P).

The hypothesis of statistical production of J/psi mesons at hadronization is formulated and checked against experimental data. It explains in the natural way the observed scaling behavior of the J/psi to pion ratio at the CERN SPS energies. Using the multiplicities of J/psi and eta mesons the hadronization temperature T_H = 175 MeV is found, which agrees with the previous estimates of the temperature parameter based on the analysis of the hadron yield systematics.

A validity of a recent estimate of an upper limit of charm production in central Pb+Pb collisions at 158 AGeV is critically discussed. Within a simple model we study properties of the background subtraction procedure used for an extraction of the charm signal from the analysis of dilepton spectra. We demonstrate that a production asymmetry between positively and negatively charged background muons and a large multiplicity of signal pairs leads to biased results. Therefore the applicability of this procedure for the analysis of nucleus-nucleus data should be reconsidered before final conclusions on the upper limit estimate of charm production could be drawn.

We propose a method to experimentally study the equation of state of strongly interacting matter created at the early stage of nucleus--nucleus collisions. The method exploits the relation between relative entropy and energy fluctuations and equation of state. As a measurable quantity, the ratio of properly filtered multiplicity to energy fluctuations is proposed. Within a statistical approach to the early stage of nucleus-nucleus collisions, the fluctuation ratio manifests a non--monotonic collision energy dependence with a maximum in the domain where the onset of deconfinement occurs.

The hypothesis of local equilibrium (LE) in relativistic heavy ion collisions at energies from AGS to RHIC is checked in the microscopic transport model. We find that kinetic, thermal, and chemical equilibration of the expanding hadronic matter is nearly reached in central collisions at AGS energy for t >_ fm/c in a central cell. At these times the equation of state may be approximated by a simple dependence P ~= (0.12-0.15) epsilon. Increasing deviations of the yields and the energy spectra of hadrons from statistical model values are observed for increasing bombarding energies. The origin of these deviations is traced to the irreversible multiparticle decays of strings and many-body (N >_ 3) decays of resonances. The violations of LE indicate that the matter in the cell reaches a steady state instead of idealized equilibrium. The entropy density in the cell is only about 6% smaller than that of the equilibrium state.

Event-by-event multiplicity fluctuations in nucleus-nucleus collisions are studied within the HSD and UrQMD transport models. The scaled variances of negative, positive, and all charged hadrons in Pb+Pb at 158 AGeV are analyzed in comparison to the data from the NA49 Collaboration. We find a dominant role of the fluctuations in the nucleon participant number for the final hadron multiplicity fluctuations. This fact can be used to check di erent scenarios of nucleus-nucleus collisions by measuring the final multiplicity fluctuations as a function of collision centrality. The analysis reveals surprising e ects in the recent NA49 data which indicate a rather strong mixing of the projectile and target hadron production sources even in peripheral collisions. PACS numbers: 25.75.-q,25.75.Gz,24.60.-k

Event-by-event fluctuations of the net baryon number and electric charge in nucleus-nucleus collisions are studied in Pb+Pb at SPS energies within the HSD transport model. We reveal an important role of the fluctuations in the number of target nucleon participants. They strongly influence all measured fluctuations even in the samples of events with rather rigid centrality trigger. This fact can be used to check different scenarios of nucleus-nucleus collisions by measuring the multiplicity fluctuations as a function of collision centrality in fixed kinematical regions of the projectile and target hemispheres. The HSD results for the event-by-event fluctuations of electric charge in central Pb+Pb collisions at 20, 30, 40, 80 and 158 A GeV are in a good agreement with the NA49 experimental data and considerably larger than expected in a quark-gluon plasma. This demonstrate that the distortions of the initial fluctuations by the hadronization phase and, in particular, by the final resonance decays dominate the observable fluctuations.

We propose to use the hadron number fluctuations in the limited momentum regions to study the evolution of initial flows in high energy nuclear collisions. In this method by a proper preparation of a collision sample the projectile and target initial flows are marked in fluctuations in the number of colliding nucleons. We discuss three limiting cases of the evolution of flows, transparency, mixing and reflection, and present for them quantitative predictions obtained within several models. Finally, we apply the method to the NA49 results on fluctuations of the negatively charged hadron multiplicity in Pb+Pb interactions at 158A GeV and conclude that the data favor a hydrodynamical model with a significant degree of mixing of the initial flows at the early stage of collisions.

The quantum mechanical formula for Mayer s second cluster integral for the gas of relativistic particles with hard-core interaction is derived. The proper pion volume calculated with quantum mechanical formula is found to be an order of magnitude larger than its classical evaluation. The second cluster integral for the pion gas is calculated in quantum mechanical approach with account for both attractive and hard-core repulsive interactions. It is shown that, in the second cluster approximation, the repulsive -interactions as well as the finite width of resonances give important but almost canceling contributions. In contrast, an appreciable deviation from the ideal gas of pions and pion resonances is observed beyond the second clus- ter approximation in the framework of the Van der Waals excluded-volume model.