Agriculture
Watering the Air
Silk’s superpowers
Got Milk? How?
Amphibians
Newts
Toads
Frogs and Toads
Animals
Staying Away from Sick Lobsters
Baboons Listen for Who's Tops
The History of Meow
Behavior
Seeing red means danger ahead
Supersonic Splash
Training Your Brain to Feel Less Pain
Birds
Hawks
Ducks
A Meal Plan for Birds
Chemistry and Materials
Picture the Smell
A Light Delay
Sticky Silky Feet
Computers
The Book of Life
Music of the Future
Electronic Paper Turns a Page
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Dino Flesh from Fossil Bone
Supersight for a Dino King
An Ancient Feathered Biplane
E Learning Jamaica
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Earth
Distant Quake Changes Geyser Eruptions
Killer Space Rock Snuffed Out Ancient Life
Digging into a Tsunami Disaster
Environment
Blooming Jellies
Fishing for Fun Takes Toll
A 'Book' on Every Living Thing
Finding the Past
An Ancient Childhood
Ancient Art on the Rocks
Stone Tablet May Solve Maya Mystery
Fish
Saltwater Fish
Trout
Freshwater Fish
Food and Nutrition
Eat Out, Eat Smart
Recipe for Health
Turning to Sweets, Fats to Calm the Brain
GSAT English Rules
Who vs. Whom
Who vs. That vs. Which
Capitalization Rules
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
Scotiabank Jamaica Foundation Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) Scholarships
42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
Tarrant High overcoming the odds
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
GSAT Scholarship
GSAT Exam Preparation
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
GSAT Mathematics
Monkeys Count
GSAT Mathematics Quiz, Teaching Math, teaching anxiety
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
Human Body
Gut Microbes and Weight
Remembering Facts and Feelings
A Better Flu Shot
Invertebrates
Squid
Centipedes
Scorpions
Mammals
Hamsters
Walrus
Spectacled Bear
Parents
Raise a Lifelong Reader by Reading Aloud
Expert report highlights the importance to parents of reading to children!
The Surprising Meaning and Benefits of Nursery Rhymes
Physics
The Particle Zoo
The Mirror Universe of Antimatter
Hold on to your stars, ladies and gentlemen
Plants
Cactus Goo for Clean Water
Bright Blooms That Glow
Tracking the Sun Improves Plant Pollen
Reptiles
Snapping Turtles
Reptiles
Tortoises
Space and Astronomy
Killers from Outer Space
Catching a Comet's Tail
No Fat Stars
Technology and Engineering
Reach for the Sky
A Micro-Dose of Your Own Medicine
Smart Windows
The Parts of Speech
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
What is a Preposition?
What is a Noun
Transportation
Robots on the Road, Again
Are Propellers Fin-ished?
Tinkering With the Basic Bike
Weather
Weekend Weather Really Is Different
Catching Some Rays
A Dire Shortage of Water
Add your Article

The Mirror Universe of Antimatter

Had a fight with your parents or a bad day at school? Wouldn't it be nice to step through a mirror to enter a different, yet somehow familiar world on the other side? In some ways, this might not be such a farfetched idea. Physicists around the world are using high-tech machines to make particles of so-called antimatter. They think of antiparticles as mirror images of the particles that make up everything in our everyday world. Just as you look like your image in a mirror, except that right and left are interchanged, a particle and its antiparticle are identical, except that they have opposite electrical charges. The research probably won't turn up anything exotic—certainly nothing like a galactic wormhole that would let you slip instantly from one part of the universe to another. Studying antimatter, however, could help scientists understand the origins and makeup of the universe. And particles of antimatter already play an important part in medical equipment used to scan the brain to monitor mental activity. Ordinary matter Few people—and most of them are cutting-edge physicists—have ever seen antimatter. The rest of us are much more familiar with matter. Air, water, a table, the TV—you name it—everything we see, touch, eat, drink, and breathe is made up of tiny objects called atoms. Atoms, in turn, are made up of even tinier particles: electrons, protons, and neutrons. Electrons have a negative electrical charge, and protons have a positive electrical charge. Neutrons have no electrical charge. A typical atom is made up of an equal number of electrons and protons, along with some neutrons. The number of protons in an atom determines what kind of atom it is. A hydrogen atom, for example, consists of just one proton and one electron. Each type of particle has an elusive anti-partner. An antiproton is just like a proton, except that it has a negative charge. A positron is just like an electron, except that it has a positive charge. However, when a proton meets an antiproton or an electron meets a positron, the particles destroy each other, disappearing in a puff of energy. As bizarre as the concept may sound, scientists have known about antiparticles for decades. "When I talk about antimatter to my colleagues, they are not very excited about it. They say, 'Okay, so what's new? What are you doing with it?'" says Rolf Landua, a physicist at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. "When I talk to nonphysicists about it, they look at me with great eyes and say, 'God, it sounds so exotic.'" Making antimatter At CERN, Landua works with a group called the ATHENA collaboration. These physicists were the first to succeed in linking positrons with antiprotons to make atoms of antihydrogen—the simplest anti-atom. In theory, the process of making antimatter is fairly simple, though the equipment needed to do it can be very complicated (and expensive). Scientists at CERN use a one-of-its-kind machine to make antiparticles. When created, these antiparticles typically have a whole lot of energy. Inside the machine, they zoom along circular tunnels, making a million circuits every second. But on each lap, the tiny objects pass through magnetic and electric fields that slow them down. Once the antiparticles have stopped moving, the researchers can store and then combine them. "We now have the first antiatom ever produced by humans," Landua says. "That's the new thing about our experiment." Beginning of time Besides being mind-bafflingly strange, human-made bits of antimatter may provide windows into the very beginning of time. One of the big mysteries of the universe, Landua says, is that it doesn't appear to contain any antimatter. "You probably don't spend sleepless nights wondering about why that is," he says. "But physicists do." Here's one reason for pondering antimatter. Many physicists think that, if the universe started with a giant burst of energy called the Big Bang, it should have produced equal amounts of matter and antimatter. But, whenever matter meets antimatter, the particles annihilate each other and disappear. So, during the very first millisecond after the Big Bang, the two types of particles should have canceled each other out. Instead, perhaps because there was slightly more matter than antimatter in the beginning, only the antimatter disappeared, and our matter-full universe was able to form out of the leftovers. Landua and his colleagues want to find out what might have caused an imbalance. "We study anti-atoms, and we compare them with atoms to see if there are any differences—even the tiniest ones," Landua says. "This is a big question because, if there was no [imbalance] between matter and antimatter, we wouldn't exist." Slow going Progress is slow. With current technology, ATHENA researchers can make 100 antihydrogen atoms every second. At that rate, making 1 gram of the stuff would take many billions of years—longer than the age of the universe itself. It's also extremely hard to store antimatter because it gets destroyed as soon as it comes into contact with matter, which is everywhere. The researchers are trying to figure out how to make more antiatoms faster, trap them better, and hold onto them for longer periods of time. The possibility also remains that some chunk of antimatter might exist elsewhere in outer space in the form of anti-stars or antigalaxies, Landua says. So far, searches of our universe have turned up nothing, but Landua hasn't given up hope. "There may be other universes we cannot look into where there is a preponderance of antimatter," he says. "At least here, in our section of the universe, it doesn't seem like it. This is the mystery." So, being able to step into an alternative mirror universe to get away from your troubles will probably remain a long shot for a long time to come.

The Mirror Universe of Antimatter
The Mirror Universe of Antimatter








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™