Thursday, November 18, 2010

CERN Scientists Capture Anti-Mater for the First Time in History

Ok here is something else weird to think about. Recently we have been hearing some murmurings in the media about anti-matter. We are all up to speed as to what anti-matter is right? For every atomic particle and atom there is a theoretical mirror image opposite that possibly exists. Should a normal and an anti particle meet, they will annihilate each other.

For years, researchers have had great success at trapping anti-electrons and anti-protons. However in 1995 CERN took a giant step into the future when it succeeded in trapping an anti-hydrogen atom and in 2002 began producing large amounts of the anti-matter atoms.

What is weird about anti-matter is there isn't any of it to be found in the universe. Well not much at least. If we understand the dynamics of the big bang there should have been just as much anti-matter as matter in those first few moments. The given wisdom is that when anti-matter meets normal matter each are totally destroyed - completely. Ok, so why is there all kinds of normal matter and no anti-matter? Well it seems that maybe in the weirdness of quantum physics the total annihilation may be tilted in normal matter's favor. So when all was said and done and all the anti-matter had destroyed all the normal matter, there was an infinitesimal fraction of normal matter left over. Yes, the total matter in the universe was left. Does that twist your head a bit?

Here is more then. Why is everyone so interested in anti-matter? Well it seems that when matter and antimatter meet they release a fantastic amount of energy. How fantastic? Well in orders of magnitudes, antimatter is a mind numbing 10 magnitudes greater than chemical reactions and an order of 4 magnitudes greater than nuclear fission reactions and 2 magnitudes greater than fusion! For comparison, 1 kilogram of antimatter with an equal amount of normal matter would release almost the same amount of energy that was ever created by the biggest nuclear bomb ever detonated, Tsar Bomba with a yield 50 mega-tons! Tsar Bomba used hundreds of kilos of nuclear material! Antimatter is a great power source and it is perfectly clean.

So what is all the excitement? Well for the first time Cern has not only able to produce anti-hydrogen but they are able to store it! According to the article sent in by Dan from the Los Angeles Times: The amount of anti-hydrogen stored so far is 38 atoms and were held for just about 1/5 of a second.

wiki anti-hydrogen Wiki on Cern Gizmodo article


Zathras number 9 said...

I would not reccomend taking the sameple to Rome without an extra battery for the containment field.

Beam Me Up said...

Damn big battery huh? And a bag or so o ice? I likes me antimatter chilled. Though it does give me a bit o the wind.