Kind of a big deal, really: Captured Anti-Matter

Large Hadron Collider: Not just for destroying the Earth anymore!

Really, this is  a very big deal, and exceptionally cool. Seems scientists at Lucerne have pulled off the impossible feat of isolating, and then containing anti-matter. Anti-matter is destroyed when it comes into contact with regular ole' universe matter. That they were able to isolate it, and then contain it for a a period of time is remarkable. 

One of the holy grails of particle physics, in fact.

Researchers at Cern, home of the Large Hadron Collider, have held 38 antihydrogen atoms in place, each for a fraction of a second.

Antihydrogen has been produced before but it was instantly destroyed when it encountered normal matter.

The team, reporting in Nature, says the ability to study such antimatter atoms will allow previously impossible tests of fundamental tenets of physics.

The current "standard model" of physics holds that each particle - protons, electrons, neutrons and a zoo of more exotic particles - has its mirror image antiparticle.

The antiparticle of the electron, for example, is the positron, and is used in an imaging technique of growing popularity known as positron emission tomography.

However, one of the great mysteries in physics is why our world is made up overwhelmingly of matter, rather than antimatter; the laws of physics make no distinction between the two and equal amounts should have been created at the Universe's birth.

This still doesn't mean that I trust the LHC, or that it won't devour our world like Galactus; nevertheless, this alone would be a pay-off for the long-delayed, over-budgeted, controversial particle collider.

Yea, science!

  Ignore this guy. Really, he's just here for the refreshments.


No comments:

Post a Comment