Antimatter Captured By CERN Scientists In Dramatic Physics Breakthrough

Published: 18th November 2010
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For the first time, antimatter has been captured by scientists. Researches at the European Nuclear Research Centre (CERN), in Geneva who have made the physics breakthrough claim to have trapped dozens of hydrogen "antimatter" atoms.

This breakthrough, never before achieved significantly boosts research into one of the great puzzles of particle physics. It could potentially help physicists develop a better understanding about the nature and origins of the universe.

The dramatic physics breakthrough could also help unravel one of the great unsolved mysteries of the universe.

''This is a major discovery," said Prof Rob Thompson, the head of physics and astronomy at the University of Calgary, who was one of the lead scientists behind the project.

"It could enable experiments that result in dramatic changes to the current view of fundamental physics or in confirmation of what we already know now."

According to theory expounded in 1931 by the eccentric British physicist Paul Dirac, antimatter is ordinary matter in reverse.

When energy transforms into matter, it produces a particle and its mirror image - called an anti-particle - which holds the opposite electrical charge.

Atoms normally consist of positively charged nuclei and negatively charged orbiting electrons. Their antimatter counterparts have negatively charged nuclei and positively charged electrons.

When matching matter and antimatter particles meet they instantly annihilate each other in a tremendous outburst of energy.

This is the reason that for some time, antimatter has only existed as the stuff of science fiction.

In theory, a single pound of antimatter would contain more destructive power than the largest H-bomb.

But the process of creating and holding onto even tiny amounts of antimatter is so costly and difficult that the chances of it being used to create the ultimate weapon are extremely remote.

The new research, published in the journal Nature, involves scientists working at CERN which plays a pivotal role in the Hollywood film Angels & Demons.

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