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Science & Technology

CERN scientists make antimatter breakthrough

By T.K. Randall
December 22, 2016 · Comment icon 52 comments

What happened to all the antimatter from the early universe ? Image Credit: NASA / Hubble
A team at the CERN facility near Geneva, Switzerland have been experimenting with antihydrogen atoms.
In physics, it is predicted that for every particle of matter that exists there should also be a particle of antimatter. When the two particles collide, a large amount of energy is released, annihilating both.

One of the biggest mysteries of antimatter concerns the fact that the Big Bang should have produced both matter and antimatter in equal measure back when the universe began.

These days however just about everything we see is comprised of matter, not antimatter. So where did all the antimatter go ? It is a question that scientists have been trying to answer for years.
Now though, a team at CERN's ALPHA experiment have succeeded for the first time in trapping antihydrogen atoms long enough to compare them to regular matter hydrogen atoms.

The results show that the antihydrogen atoms gave off the same light spectrum as hydrogen atoms, further cementing the idea that one is an exact reflection of the other.

As to why the universe simply didn't collapse in on itself the moment it came in to being, ALPHA experiment spokesman Professor Jeffrey Hangst offered up the following response:

"Something happened, some small asymmetry that led some of the matter to survive, and we simply have no good idea what explains that right now."

Source: Big Think | Comments (52)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #43 Posted by Dyna 8 years ago
Lol which has NOT one thing to do with what I said.  
Comment icon #44 Posted by bmk1245 8 years ago
OK then... Care to elaborate what you meant by "If CERN were to make a mistake it could be a big one considering the stuff they are working on."? What kind of mistake, how big, what stuff?
Comment icon #45 Posted by Derek Willis 8 years ago
Energy isn't created at CERN, energy is consumed at CERN. On average, the facility uses about 150 mW of electricity per day, roughly a quarter of the power used by nearby Geneva. And of this, only a small fraction is imparted into particles. This notion that the LHC is some sort of energy creating machine about to blow up the world is silly.
Comment icon #46 Posted by Dyna 8 years ago
Lol which has NOT one thing to do with what I s  
Comment icon #47 Posted by Dyna 8 years ago
Nature makes fire without us... science? Birds use tools The progress and destination, science...GMO food, airplanes spewing into the air, weapons of mass destruction. You get the picture.
Comment icon #48 Posted by Dyna 8 years ago Think about it We do things before we understand them, anything could happen.   Think about how they learn!  
Comment icon #49 Posted by sepulchrave 8 years ago
Says a woman typing on a computer connected to millions of other computers through a global network; a woman who is probably wearing comfortable clothing made of smooth fabric, enjoying a climate controlled room; and very unlikely to die of cholera, dysentery, malaria, plague, influenza, smallpox, etc. I don't think that GMO food, airplanes spewing (??) into the air, and weapons of mass destruction even come close to outweighing the benefits of science. I am pretty sure that the Mongol conquest of Asia killed a larger percentage of the human population than all of the wars in the 20th century.... [More]
Comment icon #50 Posted by Rlyeh 8 years ago
I gather if you got rabies you'd let nature take it's course?
Comment icon #51 Posted by Derek Willis 8 years ago
Fire does come about spontaneously by nature, for example through volcanoes and lightening. But not only do we make fire, we use fire. Initially, we used fire to keep us warm, light our way in the dark, keep wild animals at bay, and to cook. Then we used fire to make pottery and smelt metals. Nature is a wondrous thing. We are part of nature, and we have learned how to use nature. Throughout history, the good of science has always outweighed the bad, which is why we are still here.
Comment icon #52 Posted by bmk1245 8 years ago
Again, you are comparing real Abrams M1A2 with 1:24 RC model... Here is something you can learn about LHC beam: energy of one beam is equivalent to 77 kg of TNT. Thats very very very far away from energy stored in nuclear reactor. Thats for starters. Secondly, as in the case of microscopic black holes, volume of quark gluon plasma created is tiny and shortlived, it simply decays into whole bunch of particles. And repeatedly, nature was doing that kind of experiment from the beginning of the Universe, yet we are still here. Read the paper I posted earlier.

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