Misleading R4 BBC coverage
I got seriously annoyed by the sloppy coverage of this by BBC R4 news last night, partly repeated on the Roday programme this morining.
Crime number one - repeated on the Today programme. Stating that antimatter is the opposite of matter (whatever that would be). It's not - if it was it would have odd properties like negative mass. Instead it's material made from a bunch of sub-atomic particles that have the reverse electric charge (like the electron/positron particle/antiparticle pair). Some neutral particles, like anit-neutrons are made up of antigluons which carry this property (and some are their own antiparticles).
Crime number two - stating this was the first time antimatter had been created. It's not - antiparticles with mass count as matter. Instead, these were the first captured antiatoms.
Crime number three - stating that when matter and antimatter encounter one another they produce nothing. Wrong. They produce a lot of energy in the form of photons. Indeed if if didn't do that, then there wouldn't be much of a story to be made about a matter/antimatter bomb.
This might seem immaterial, but it's not - it's fundamental. Shame on you BBC. Puns fully intended.