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back to article Has CERN made the VATICAN ANTIMATTER BOMB for real?*

So - Dan Brown's turgid blockbuster Angels and Demons, in which a nefarious papal official nicks a vial of antimatter from CERN as part of a complicated scheme to become Pope by menacing the Vatican with explosive destruction. Twaddle? Or actually a perfectly feasible plan ripped from today's headlines, style of thing? …

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Boffin

Good Video

I'd like to throw up the following video from UC Berkeley and their fantastic video repository for anyone else interested in this topic. The video, Angels & Demons The Science Revealed is really quite informative - especially about the energy needed.

http://webcast.berkeley.edu/event_details.php?seriesid=ddfa5ba5-1f77-4f3e-8dcb-7b6e08cc2a46

Prepare for antimatter bananas.

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Perfect!

"easily capable of making a global thermonuclear war look like angry cockroaches lighting their farts at each other."

You have just made my Friday!

What do you mean it's only Thursday? Sulking off to the pub...

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Wouldn't it be easier...

...to smuggle in one of those little black holes?

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Happy

Sod the antimatter bomb

I want my private Lockheed X-33 space plane!

What do you mean, 'Angels & Demons' wasn't a documentary?

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Dan Brown: CERN Recruitment Consultant?

I applied for a position at CERN recently and was amused and distubed to find that in amongst the billions of questions on the on-line form was something like "Where did you hear about us?" with multiple choice options.

Two of the options were "Angels and Demons - Film" and "Angels and Demons - Book".

I didn't pick either of those options but I still didn't get the job.

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Anti-title.

I expect Homeland Security is already planning a scanner to screen airline passengers for anti-matter.

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Happy

Particle-furtling.

Chortle!

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Boffin

Maybe not antimatter, but the CERN boffins do have a gun pointed at Rome!

(Or rather Gran Sasso, but it's close enough for government work.)

And they fire neutrinos, that rarely interact with much - but that shouldn't stop an enterprising journalist from making up some neat headlines....

http://proj-cngs.web.cern.ch/proj-cngs/ProjetOverview/projetoverview2002.htm

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Grenade

Slight mistake

You forgot a factor of 2. Every anti-hydrogen atom will also turn one normal proton (and electron) into energy. So you would get 22, not 11, billionths of a joule. Still won't heat the coffee, but I'm feeling pedantic today.

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Pint

Minor...

...correction.

38 atoms of nega hydrogen would "liberate approximately 11 billionths of a single measly joule. "

But the atoms of normal matter involved would also liberate another 11 nanojoules.

Papal plotting priests please ponder.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Minor...

Chaps -

The fact that normal matter would also be involved was included in the calc. Click on the Wolfram alpha link in the article if you don't believe me.

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Alert

This is all very interesting but...

I've just noticed the "1" at the end of Lewis' account name (just goes to show how observant I am that I've only just noticed.) Does this mean there's more than one of you? Are you the first cloned human? Or are you merely planning to clone yourself and are planning ahead for the eventuality? If you have been cloned, just how many Lewises are there? Also, what's the plural of Lewis? Lewii? And the collective noun?

These are much more important questions!

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Collective noun for Lewises

A puissance of Lewises surely?

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Anonymous Coward

Naaah

Probably somebody just nicked "Lewis Page" before Lewis Page registered.

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Re: Collective noun for Lewises

No, a Lewis Book.

Hopefully there are female versions. It would make Lewis Page 3 a bit more pleasant.

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Not necessarily.

I'm thinking the hovering nun with a ruler routine from Blues Brothers. <<shudder>>

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Pirate

Lets hope...

Lewis Page 1 doesn't meet Lewis Page -1, I don't know the mass of a Lewis Page but I bet it is enough to cause a boom..

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Happy

Re: This is all very interesting but...

Perhaps it is the famed anti-Lewis?

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@Papal plotting priests please ponder

Magnificent!

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Maybe he has multiple accounts?

One for this boat, one for that boat...

...and one for the LOHAN production facility he's secretly constructing in the side of a volcano with Lester...

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Good article

making a global thermonuclear war look like angry cockroaches lighting their farts at each other.

Was possibly the best line I have read in a while :-)

Shame we can't get the quantities, but DAMN!! Science is cool!

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Grenade

Anniversary

Just 99 years since Rutherford proposed his model of the atom. And only 44 years after that that the first fission bomb went off. So I expect anti-matter powered backpacks* and/or an international anti-matter weapons crisis by 2045.

Then they'll be looking back and saying: that Dan Brown, sage of the future! :)

*or at least a teasmade

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Angels and Demons

I was more disappointed with the lack of the super fast SCRAM jet that Langdon used to travel to Europe. The film just went even more downhill from there.

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Come on...

...it was utterly saved by the not-at-all-Father-Tedesque ending of a parachuting pope.

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Coffee/keyboard

@ Mike

Not that I'd be watching that abortion of a film very often, but the Father Ted reference has made it worthwhile :-)

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Coat

I think Dan Brown's villain...

...was trying to make an Antipope

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Happy

Then he was beaten to it

See the first book of the Brentford Trilogy by Robert Rankin

If you find yourself at the Flying Swan, have a pint of Large in memory of Pooley and Omally

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Coat

@Carl Zetie

<Michael Caine>

No, no, no. You're only supposed to blow the choirboys off.

</Michael Caine>

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To make an antipope at CERN...

...you'd need to utilise the transperambulation of pseudocosmic antimatter; given enough flux, of course. Or something.

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Coat

@TC

I tought, it is the other way around.

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Anonymous Coward

According to the Rev Dr Ian Paisley,

Pope = Antichrist

Let's hope the two never collide!

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Boffin

For comparison

You mention that 1/3g of antimatter reacting with matter would release the equivalent of a 15KTon of TNT explosion, the same as Little Boy dropped on Hiroshima. Total fissile material on that device was 65Kg.

For comparison, only 1.38% of the fissile material achieved fission, making it approx 900g.

So, it's roughly 2700x more energetic a reaction than fission!

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Anonymous Coward

Feeling pedantic...

I'm feeling rather pedantic although my pedancy (if that's a word) could be void. The "just a degree above absolute zero" comment would be disastrous when dealing with Kelvin but as you didn't actually mention the units I can't point out that the Kelvin scale isn't measured in degrees. Wow, I'm only usually this bad on a Monday morning...

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Badgers

pedancy (if that's a word)

I think the word you're looking for is pedantry.

And now I'm off for a lie-down as my head has exploded from the irony of my own meta-pedantry.

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It could easily mean

a degree (centigrade) above absolute zero (Kelvin). That still means 1 Kelvin. So nyah!

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Anonymous Coward

Additional pedantry

Just because he mentioned absolute zero doesn't mean that the numbers he quotes are in Kelvin. It's perfectly correct to refer to one degree [Celsius] above absolute zero, which would be about -272.15 degrees. Remember, he didn't say "above zero", he said "above absolute zero".

AC because I'm disappointed with myself for pointing this out.

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Stop

Bah!

Bah! The real scientists are still arguing about the exact temperature of absolute temperature and what weird (i.e. interesting) things might happen at that temperature.

Measuring something at that temperature would imply warming it up and it gets steadily more messy from there...

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Small moves Ellie...

This is great news, well we have to start somewhere. We used to have water wheels and pump houses, now we have nano-machines that can do the same thing (for different purposes obviusly). It's only a matter of time.

Boot: on Radio 4 last night they said they had contained the antimatter for 6 seconds, this morning they say one-sixth of a second, I presume the latter to be true. They even illustrated by shortening "one of [their] beeps"!

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@ravenviz

"This is great news.."

Except for the horrendous amount of energy involved to make it - rather more than 11e-9 J I expect

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Happy

Dan-ti-matter

Aw come on...

... Dan Brown's come a long way since Susan Fletcher "almost fell off her chair with excitement" in Digital Fortress.

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How else?

Everyone would almost fall off their chair with excitement if they saw the first working example of a rotating cipher where you don't know you've decoded it or not... Fortunately the password was easy to figure out, being larger than 2, yet smaller than 4...

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Anonymous Coward

Ah, Digital Fortress...

Now *that* was a high-quality piece of IT fiction.

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Flame

Has he?

Although I guess it would be hard to write something as bad as Digital Fortress.

It only convinced me to not read any other book by Dan Brown. That book is an insult to its readers' intelligence. How many pages again for those geniuses with an IQ >170 to solve that riddle... Clues: Elements.. Nagazaki.. Hiroshima... oooh must be something to do with SOCIOLOGY!

If only that had been redeemed by being well written, or structured, or by having interesting and/or plausible characters, or by being accurate about encryption, networks and technology. Err. Nope, I can't tick any of those boxes either.

There. Years after reading that book I'm still raging about it...

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Re : Florence

"There. Years after reading that book I'm still raging about it..."

You too?

I shredded my copy a page at a time. I felt much better after that.

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Grenade

From a friend with access to the appropriate gear

"You don't burn books. So we took it out the back and shot it"

This was about a book by the founder of the cult of fictionology, but the same sentiment applies.

(I myself have treated that pile of dross with an angle grinder and an alligator saw. Unsurprisingly, he book lost)

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Well ...

That cockroaches line acctually made me LOL in the middle of the office.

Much luv reg!

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For those who prefer traditional units

38 atoms of anti-hydrogen would give an explosion equivalent to 2.7 attotons of TNT.

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Pint

2.7 attotonnes of TNT, but...

how many Wales' would that devastate?

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Anonymous Coward

"how many Wales' would that devastate?"

Rather less than 1

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Joke

And...

And would anyone notice?

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