Friday, November 19, 2010

What's the Matter with Antimatter?

Now I'm not really a physics person, considering my less than stellar attempt at high school chemistry, I have never attempted a physics class, though I know enough to get by with my writing. The holy grail of physics these days in the large hadron collider (LHC) at CERN in Switzerland. This week researchers from CERN are reporting that they have successfully captured the first antimatter atom (of antihydrogen.)

This is important because antimatter is a largely unexplored field in physics. The idea is that each atom has a counter particle made of antimatter (sort of like having an evil twin) but these antimatter particles have been difficult to study because they are typically destroyed by coming into contact with their real matter counterpart. Researchers don't know why the universe is largely made of matter instead of antimatter, but with the ability to trap and study these particles, they may be able to find out.

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