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Several observables of unbound nucleons which are to some extent sensitive to the medium modifications of nucleon-nucleon elastic cross sections in neutron-rich intermediate energy heavy ion collisions are investigated. The splitting effect of neutron and proton effective masses on cross sections is discussed. It is found that the transverse flow as a function of rapidity, the Q_zz as a function of momentum, and the ratio of halfwidths of the transverse to that of longitudinal rapidity distribution R_t/l are very sensitive to the medium modifications of the cross sections. The transverse momentum distribution of correlation functions of two-nucleons does not yield information on the in-medium cross section.

The influence of the isospin-independent, isospin- and momentum-dependent equation of state (EoS), as well as the Coulomb interaction on the pion production in intermediate energy heavy ion collisions (HICs) is studied for both isospin-symmetric and neutron-rich systems. The Coulomb interaction plays an important role in the reaction dynamics, and strongly influences the rapidity and transverse momentum distributions of charged pions. It even leads to the pi- pi+ ratio deviating slightly from unity for isospin-symmetric systems. The Coulomb interaction between mesons and baryons is also crucial for reproducing the proper pion flow since it changes the behavior of the directed and the elliptic flow components of pions visibly. The EoS can be better investigated in neutron-rich system if multiple probes are measured simultaneously. For example, the rapidity and the transverse momentum distributions of the charged pions, the pi- pi+ ratio, the various pion flow components, as well as the difference of pi+-pi- flows. A new sensitive observable is proposed to probe the symmetry potential energy at high densities, namely the transverse momentum distribution of the elliptic flow difference [Delta v_2^pi+ - pi-(p_t rm c.m.].

The influence of high and low energy hadronic models on lateral distribution functions of cosmic ray air showers for Auger energies is explored. A large variety of presently used high and low energy hadron interaction models are analysed and the resulting lateral distribution functions are compared. We show that the slope depends on both the high and low energy hadronic model used. The models are confronted with available hadron-nucleus data from accelerator experiments.

Nonequilibrium models (three-fluid hydrodynamics, UrQMD, and quark molecular dynamics) are used to discuss the uniqueness of often proposed experimental signatures for quark matter formation in relativistic heavy ion collisions from the SPS via RHIC to LHC. It is demonstrated that these models - although they do treat the most interesting early phase of the collisions quite differently (thermalizing QGP vs. coherent color fields with virtual particles) -- all yield a reasonable agreement with a large variety of the available heavy ion data. Hadron/hyperon yields, including J/Psi meson production/suppression, strange matter formation, dileptons, and directed flow (bounce-off and squeeze-out) are investigated. Observations of interesting phenomena in dense matter are reported. However, we emphasize the need for systematic future measurements to search for simultaneous irregularities in the excitation functions of several observables in order to come close to pinning the properties of hot, dense QCD matter from data. The role of future experiments with the STAR and ALICE detectors is pointed out.

The SENECA model, a new hybrid approach to air shower simulations, is presented. It combines the use of efficient cascade equations in the energy range where a shower can be treated as one-dimensional, with a traditional Monte Carlo method which traces individual particles. This allows one to reproduce natural fluctuations of individual showers as well as the lateral spread of low energy particles. The model is quite efficient in computation time. As an application of the new approach, the influence of the low energy hadronic models on shower properties for AUGER energies is studied. We conclude that these models have a significant impact on the tails of lateral distribution functions, and deserve therefore more attention.

To be published in J. Phys. G - Proceedings of SQM 2004 : We review the results from the various hydrodynamical and transport models on the collective flow observables from AGS to RHIC energies. A critical discussion of the present status of the CERN experiments on hadron collective flow is given. We emphasize the importance of the flow excitation function from 1 to 50 A.GeV: here the hydrodynamic model has predicted the collapse of the v2-flow ~ 10 A.GeV; at 40 A.GeV it has been recently observed by the NA49 collaboration. Since hadronic rescattering models predict much larger flow than observed at this energy we interpret this observation as evidence for a first order phase transition at high baryon density r b. Moreover, the connection of the elliptic flow v2 to jet suppression is examined. It is proven experimentally that the collective flow is not faked by minijet fragmentation. Additionally, detailed transport studies show that the away-side jet suppression can only partially (< 50%) be due to hadronic rescattering. Furthermore, the change in sign of v1, v2 closer to beam rapidity is related to the occurence of a high density first order phase transition in the RHIC data at 62.5, 130 and 200 A.GeV.

We investigate the effects of strong color fields and of the associated enhanced intrinsic transverse momenta on the phi-meson production in ultrarelativistic heavy ion collisions at RHIC. The observed consequences include a change of the spectral slopes, varying particle ratios, and also modified mean transverse momenta. In particular, the composition of the production processes of phi-mesons, that is, direct production vs. coalescence-like production, depends strongly on the strength of the color fields and intrinsic transverse momenta and thus represents a sensitive probe for their measurement.

We analyze the reaction dynamics of central Pb+Pb collisions at 160 GeV/nucleon. First we estimate the energy density pile-up at mid-rapidity and calculate its excitation function: The energy density is decomposed into hadronic and partonic contributions. A detailed analysis of the collision dynamics in the framework of a microscopic transport model shows the importance of partonic degrees of freedom and rescattering of leading (di)quarks in the early phase of the reaction for E >= 30 GeV/nucleon. The energy density reaches up to 4 GeV/fm 3, 95% of which are contained in partonic degrees of freedom. It is shown that cells of hadronic matter, after the early reaction phase, can be viewed as nearly chemically equilibrated. This matter never exceeds energy densities of 0.4 GeV/fm 3, i.e. a density above which the notion of separated hadrons loses its meaning. The final reaction stage is analyzed in terms of hadron ratios, freeze-out distributions and a source analysis for final state pions.