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back to article Antimatter hangs around at CERN

Scientists at CERN have published the results of experiments in which they captured anti-hydrogen particles for 1,000 seconds before annihilation. Their work, published in Nature Physics, should yield a better basis for comparing the behaviour of ordinary matter with antimatter. The scientists say the lifetime of the particles …

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Mushroom

Anahilated.

So if an anti and a (plus) meet they are zapped, does this mean they vanish? Where to they go if so? Or are they converted to energy?

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Title

I'm not an expert on this but my understanding is that as mass is just energy the mass/energy of the two particles gets converted randomly into other particles and photons. And the more energy that there is, the more exotic the resulting particles can be.

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Mushroom

re. Annihilated

They are completely converted to energy:

E = mc^2

So all the mass is turned into energy (like Einstein said).

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Where do they go

When a particle and antiparticle collide they are both converted into energy (this is where good old E=mc^2 comes in). A lot of that energy goes into 2 massive gamma rays though ^_^

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Boffin

They are converted to...

...energy, in this case high-energy (gamma) photons, if memory serves.

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yup

hypothesised a 100% conversion of matter to energy. Noone knows exactly hence the experiments.

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Mushroom

Agree with others..

...but the amount of energy is meant to be way higher than conventional fission/fusion reaction, assuming like-for-like mass (and anti-mass)...

<--- which means we need a much bigger one of these.

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IIRC

One theory is that an anti-proton is actually a proton travelling backwards through time. When the two collide, it is actually the proton being "reflected" in the time dimension by collision with a photon, so it looks like the 2 are converted to photons.

I didn't read too much about it, so the details are fuzzy... and this was only one theory about them.

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Headmaster

Who is this Noone* fellow,

and what exactly does he know?

(*Oh, you meant NO ONE. Carry on).

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Joke

How long....

before we can blow up the Vatican?

AC, considering what happened to that poor bastard on Twitter

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Facepalm

Spoilsports..

Couldn't they do it on the Rapture day ?

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Mushroom

Don't worry...

there's still plenty of time to ramp up these experiments and cause the end of the world on December 21, 2012.

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Thumb Up

Well

I suppose it won't be too long before the world's militaries weaponise this. They may as well collaborate to build the anti-matter bomb though, and then they can all share it. After all, they'll only need one.

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Anonymous Coward

Actually...

El Reg did an article on the destructive power of antimatter when Mr Brown released his now famous book.

IIRC, an antimatter bomb of any reasonable size would be less powerful than an equivalent sized nuke.

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Mushroom

Only if...

Only if the containment was too large.

Nukes convert a miserly fraction of a percent of their mass into energy - an antimatter bomb would release it ALL. Of course it would release it mostly as Gamma, whereas a nuke releases large quantities of heat as well (due to the reaction of the remaining mass.

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Headmaster

Actually twice the mass

An antimatter bomb releases twice its mass as energy - it takes the same mass of normal matter with it.

The electrons and positrons (usually) convert to pairs of gamma rays. The protons and anti-protons (which are each made up of three quarks and a mess of virtual gluons) tend to be a lot messier and convert to various lighter particles plus energy, and those particles will then interact and/or annihilate with surrounding stuff until it eventually all ends up as energy in some form.

But the end result will be a Very Large Bang. Detailed observations are left as an exercise for the reader.

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unlikely

An AM bomb is technically near-impossible to build, but nevermind. A bomb more powerful than a nuke would be useless. Nukes are already too powerful to be useful as anything but deterrent.

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More powerful bombs

Could be useful if they (a) can be made more compact than the equivalent yield nuke (questionable in the case of AM) and (b) if they can explode without showering the surroundings with bits of U tamper and various unpleasant fission products (which an AM bomb should be able to do)...

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Unhappy

Added Bonus

With the customary commercial interruption, the entire 1,000 second lifetime could be covered in detail in no more than a few hours. I warned my Cable Company this would happen eventually.

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Terminator

When will it end?

Will the killing and annihilation never end?

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Not

For at least another 10E100 years....

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Anonymous Coward

Not

Surely 1E101?

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If in standard form - yes

But does not look as sexy as 10 to the power of 100, does it? :-)

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I have it on good (impeccable) authority...

thats its 12 dec this year

akshuly

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Boffin

Wrong

10E100 is not 10 to the power of 100. It is ten times 1E100, and 1E100 is 10 to the power of 100.

For instance, 1E111 is ten to the power of eleventy-one. Right?

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Yes, you're right

My mistake.

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Angel

@johnf -- No!

Because that's how nature is, unfortunately.

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Mushroom

And the next goal...

will be getting it to the Vatican!

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Trollface

Antihydrogen

So what is it?

Only joking!

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Pint

next steps...

...first anti-oxygen, then anti-carbon then anti-CH3OH. Awesome

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Don't

Ever drink methanol. Anti- or not.

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Boffin

@AGirlFromVenus -- Sorry, wrong! Yuh need a good bang for yuh buck but not blindness too!

CH3-OH is methanol. It's excellent for racing cars but terrible for the eyes etc., blindness ensues upon imbibing.

Anti-C2H5-OH [CH3-CH2-OH], ethanol, would be a safer option but the gamma rays pose a shielding problem; hence, I'd strongly recommend it only be consumed on extra special occasions.

Shuffling off this mortal coil being perhaps the very best example.

>:-)

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<insert title here>

"Me rant at IT" = anagram of Anti Matter

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Coat

Simple CERN

Auntie hydrogen? When will this dumbing down stop!!!

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Mushroom

Yessssss.....

Now we only need to build our first, dilithium chambered starship!

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FAIL

Hot off the press

This will be the news from one ago then?

http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2011-05/4/cern-traps-antimatter-for-16-minutes

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the best bit

The best part of the article if it gets proven to be true is this...

"Even more excitingly, the lab's particle physicists have plans for upcoming tests that will determine whether antimatter plays by gravity's rules, or whether they're truly "anti" in every definition. The ALPHA team plans to freeze a small lump of antihydrogen, and watch what happens.

If it falls up, we might be seeing the first step towards turning anti-gravity sci-fi into a reality. CERN is determined to test this within the next couple of months."

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Just think about it a little..

*Even* if antimatter was repelled by gravity how are you going to contain it so that it doesn't interact with the matter you want to fly through. The containment is going to be extremely sophisticated matter weighing a considerable amount more than the anti-matter.

The idea doesn't get off he ground

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Devil

Thats a bit harsh

What has the Vatican ever done to deserve being demolecularised?

Apart from the Crusades, the dissolution of the monasteries (due in part to Henry VIII but could have been avoided if they had come to an agreement), the Inquisition, the infamous pedo priest scandal and subsequent coverup, etc.

To be fair they have improved a lot since then but even now some records remain sealed under the 1000 year rule (as in they will never be released but still exist in some vault somewhere)

We are talking about human beings here don't forget, albeit somewhat deluded ones.

AC, but run algorithm pattern-recognition-8472

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FAIL

Another BBC Science Fail

BBC Breakfast just reported that this "could form a valuable new source of energy, much like the anti-matter core in Star Trek"

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Boffin

Next stop....

....the NCC-1701.

GJC

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Mushroom

Oh for goodness' sake.

It was a joke, OK? You don't need to down-vote anything that doesn't fit your nice, safe, comfortable world view. Now run along and let the grown-ups talk.

GJC

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Happy

Still a bit off the anti matter fuelled spaceship

More strictly the anti proton catalysed fission/fusion system proposed by U.Penn.

1 atom down 10^17-1 to go.

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Boffin

We've established the principal.

The rest is just implementation detail.

GJC

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Mushroom

To boldly go...

Don't forget the dilithium crystals. "Warp factor 4 Mr Sulu".

http://www.startrek.com/database_article/matter-antimatter-reaction-chamber

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Linux

Star Trekking

Whats impressive is that Star Trek 'imagineered' a magnetic bottle for anti matter storage back in the 1960's. Along with how to actually use the stuff.

Science ...yaayyy but did the Scientists think up this independently or is a closet trekkie amongst the Cern team? What came first Chicken or the egg.

Still well done...now build a bliddy starship with it.

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Anonymous Coward

"Along with how to actually use the stuff."

What !?

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Closet Trekkies at CERN?

I'd have thought it was an mandatory Q&A in the 'Hobbies & Interests' section

Do you like:

Star Trek

Star Wars

All those answering B failed

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Book

The book "Physics of Star Trek" mentions the physics professors and students they had as consults on the show, the writers would work with them to make stuff that was scientifically feasible. Or at least, didn't require putting frontal lobes on standby.

In the words of George Takai: "Oh Myyyyy"

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oh, a title

i think we can safely assume the CRT existed before star trek

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