Indexed on: 22 Jan '01Published on: 22 Jan '01Published in: Nuclear Theory
Compelling evidence for the creation of a new form of matter has been claimed to be found in Pb+Pb collisions at SPS. We discuss the uniqueness of often proposed experimental signatures for quark matter formation in relativistic heavy ion collisions. It is demonstrated that so far none of the proposed signals like J\psi meson production/suppression, strangeness enhancement, dileptons, and directed flow unambigiously show that a phase of deconfined matter has been formed in SPS Pb+Pb collisions. 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.