Dec 19 2016

Scientists measure antimatter atom for 1st time!/fileImage/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/16x9_620/crab-nebula.jpg

Physicists hope their observations will lead to a better understanding of our universe

From CBC

Physicists from CERN in Switzerland have taken another step forward in our understanding of the makeup of the universe.

While you may be familiar with the term antimatter from science-fiction shows like Star Trek, it’s a real thing. Scientists know it exists — small amounts of it rain down on us all the time — but capturing it and actually seeing it has been tricky.

The theory is that when the universe was created in a violent explosion — the Big Bang — equal amounts of antimatter and matter were created. When antimatter and matter come together, they should annihilate one another, leaving nothing but energy behind. However, we live in a world where matter far outweighs antimatter, something that has stumped physicists.

In a study published in the journal Nature on Monday, CERN’s physicists used a laser to precisely measure the optical properties, or spectroscopy, of antihydrogen contained in an antimatter “trap.”

Scientists found that hydrogen and antihydrogen contained the same properties, something that Einstein’s theory of general relativity had previously concluded.

Canadian researchers, part of the Antihydrogen Laser Physics Apparatus (ALPHA) team at CERN, participated in the successful experiment.

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