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Antimatter Atoms Captured 476

Whamo writes: "Researchers at CERN think they have created and stored thousands of antiatoms in a particle trap. The researchers first used powerful magnetic fields to trap antiprotons then exposed this to a beam of positrons. Initial results indicate that at least some of the antiparticles have bound together to become neutral antihydrogen atoms. How cool is that?"
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Antimatter Atoms Captured

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  • by wiredog ( 43288 ) on Thursday February 21, 2002 @02:34PM (#3046138) Journal
    Well, that would depend on how fast the anti-hydrogen atoms are moving, wouldn't it?
  • Yeah? (Score:4, Funny)

    by somethingwicked ( 260651 ) on Thursday February 21, 2002 @02:34PM (#3046139)
    Well, how does this matter?


  • "Researchers at CERN think they have created and stored thousands of antiatoms in a particle trap."

    Ok, they THINK they have? How can you tell?

    IAECOTT--I am extremely clueless on this topic, so please someone out there give a newbie a little help with this....

    thanks, and I hope to god I am not the only clueless one on this subject here. :)
    • It's particle physics -- they're Uncertain...

      (ducks flying objects)

    • Unless I'm much mistaken, an antiparticle is completely neutral; one anti-proton of negative charge, one positron of positive charge, and one anti-neutron of neutral charge. From a distance it should look identical to a standard hydrogen atom.

      The only way they can test it is if they fire off a single hydrogen atom in there and note the massive explosion followed by all the other anti-particles flying out of containment and then destroying the rest of the normal matter in anti-matter-matter annihilation.

      For all they know, firing a stream of positrons at anti-protons created normal atoms (since this is all theory)

      What I wonder is how they're gonna get rid of several thousand anti-hydrogen!
      • since exposing them to normal matter would not creat enough energy to even warm up a small cup of coffee, I don't think this will be a real issue.
      • I much overestimated the destructive capability of several thousand anti-hydrogen.

        That aside, I'm still curious how they plan to get rid of the stuff, especially as they refined the production capabilities and are able to create more of the stuff?
    • by Sir Tristam ( 139543 ) on Thursday February 21, 2002 @02:55PM (#3046345)
      Well, according to the article some of the particles in the trap did not move when they exposed the particle trap to a magnetic field, and they are using this as the basis for the supposition. Since they put anti-protons (negative charge) and anti-electrons (positive charge) in the trap, the magnetic field should make all the free anti-protons move one direction and all the free anti-electrons (aka positrons) move the other direction. An anti-hydrogen atom (hydrogen anti-atom?) would have one anti-proton and one anti-electron which would (essentially) net out, and so should not move under the influence of the magnetic field.

      To double-check this, they're going to run the experiment again, and do a spectral analysis of what they've got in the particle trap later this year. I guess they've already got a theory on how the spectral emission/absorption lines of anti-hydrogen will compare to those of hydrogen.

      Chris Beckenbach

      • by racermd ( 314140 )
        Somebody else may have pointed this out already, and keep in mind that I'm just a low-level geek with knowledge in areas other than this, but...

        Let's all assume (correctly) that a particle of 'normal' hydrogen has a neutral charge by having a single Proton and a single Electron. By definition, aparticle of anti-hydrogen has a neutral charge, as well. Seeing as both of these partcles have neutral charges, does it not stand to reason that they will not be attracted to one another due to opposite charges? Maybe my high-school physics classes were a little basic, but it sounds like there's more to do than just introduce hydrogen to anti-hydrogen for there to be a reaction between to two particles with neutral charges. Unless there's some sort of anti-neutral (?!) charge that I'm missing, this doesn't seem dangerous.

        Not until you think a little deeper. There are lots of other particles that are *not* neutrally charged that could be used to release energy in the fashion we're all thinking. Further still, this may change chemistry as we know it, as we now might (keyword here, "might") have the ability to mix one anti-element with a different 'normal' to get some desired results.

        As someone else suggested, how would anti-water work? Could it still be used to put out a fire? I don't think you'd want to drink it (as the body is over 70% 'normal' water, anyway), but I'm sure it could have some uses. Ta-da! The science of anti-chemistry is born!

        Just some random thoughts. If I'm incorrect in my assumptions, let me know. Don't flame me. I'm not that smart, really. I just ask lots of questions.
      • I guess they've already got a theory on how the spectral emission/absorption lines of anti-hydrogen will compare to those of hydrogen.

        Yes indeedy ... hydrogen and anti-hydrogen should have exactly the same spectra. If they are NOT identical, that will be extremely cool.

      • Chris :

        I think both of the tests you mention are not really confirmation of the fact that they have actually formed anti-hydrogen.

        Why? Let's assume that, for some reason, the atoms in question were not anti-hydrogen, but simply plain run-of-the-mill hydrogen.

        How do the spectra compare? The spectrum of hydrogen should be exactly identical to that of anti-hydrogen. Nope. Can't use it as a confirmation of the antimatter state.

        How about net charge? Well, hydrogen also has zero charge. Nope, can't use net charge as a confirmation either.

        In fact, your argument is not quite correct. Hydrogen atoms do possess a net magnetic moment (primarily due to the spin and orbital angular momentum of the electron, though the latter is zero in the ground state) and therefore do move in a magnetic field. In fact, that was the entire basis of the classic Stern-Gerlach experiment.

        I've heard that experimentalists might be able to confirm the existence of anti-hydrogen by smashing the atoms in question against a wall, and looking for characteristic gamma rays. If one knew the initial state were either hydrogen or anti-hydrogen, then one could be assured upon seeing the gamma rays, that the initial state was indeed anti-hydrogen. The problem with this approach is that it destroys the antimatter atoms in the process, so that you are not able to subsequently use them in other experiments.


    • by kavau ( 554682 )
      From the New Scientist article:

      "When the group exposed the particle trap to an electric field, some particles failed to move, suggesting that the charged antiparticles had bound together into neutral antihydrogen atoms."

      That should answer your questions. Both antiprotons and positrons (aka antielectrons) are electrically charged. Therefore they are accelerated if you apply an electric field. The antihydrogen atom consists of one antiproton and one antielectron. Since the charge of antiprotons and that of positrons is opposite, the antihydrogen atom has no net electric charge and stays immobile in an electric field. So they guess that, if it doesn't move, it must be an atom! There are of course more elaborate tests one can do, and will do. For example, ordinary hydrogen atoms emit light at very specific frequencies [] (maybe some of you will remember the terms Lyman series, Balmer series etc. from freshman physics). Since the antihydrogen is the exact "mirror image" of the ordinary hydrogen atom, these frequencies must be the same. Observation of these frequencies should yield definite proof (or reveal it as a flop :-)

  • AntiHydrogen atom? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by L-Wave ( 515413 )
    Pardon my stupidity on the subject, but what exactly does an ANTI-hydrogen atom do? Is a particular application of this type of knowledge useable such as radioactive waste disposal or something? *clueless*
    • by JoeLinux ( 20366 )
      The idea is that if you have a hydrogen and an anti-hydrogen meet, there will be a huge explosion of energy. Stephen Hawking jokes that if you ever meet the "anti"-you, don't shake hands.

      • Yup (Score:3, Informative)

        by wiredog ( 43288 )
        It'd be 100% pure unadulterated MC^2

        Yummy on Cheerios.

      • by Magar ( 560784 )
        Basically, the anti-matter/matter reaction is the most efficent mass to energy conversion there is. Take something like a nuclear warhead - the actual 'core' of the warhead isn't all that big, roughly the size of a basketball, depending on the KT rating of the device. The massive energy output is derived from an extremely inefficent conversion of that into energy. If I remember my science correctly, only about 1-3% of the core is converted into energy, the rest is spread as radioactive material.

        Anti-matter/matter is a 100% conversion of matter into energy, and unlike a nuclear explosion where the only way to get energy out of a core is by a massive, simultanious event, you can in theory feed a controlled amount of anti-matter into a suitable 'reactor', and produce a controlled reaction. Due to the near perfect mass/energy conversion, you can generate a lot of power from a very small amount of fuel, meaning things like fueling spaceships become a lot more practicle since you don't have to lug around thousands of tons of chemical fuel everywhere you go.

        Of course, a few hundred atoms of anti-matter isn't much, and won't generate much energy. In time though, research like this will hopefully lead to the ability to generate large amount of anti-matter, allowing us access to a very powerful form of stored energy to do all sorts of cool things - one of the first I'm sure will be anti-matter weapons. :(

        • by biobogonics ( 513416 ) on Thursday February 21, 2002 @04:08PM (#3046908)
          Basically, the anti-matter/matter reaction is the most efficent mass to energy conversion there is.

          This brings us closer to one of the propulsion systems envisioned by hard science fiction writer and physicist Robert L. Forward in a number of his books, the latest of which is "Indistinguishable From Magic".

          His books are prime reading for slashdotters. They are a throwback to the early SF of Campbell and Heinlein, but with much more real science thrown in.

        • I get the impression that accidental release of antimatter would not be nearly as destructive as some people like to think. For one thing, let's say you have a sphere of antimatter held inside a spherical containment field. The containment field drops instantly, exposing the antimatter to the air outside. (Let's assume there's no pressure difference between the antimatter and the air.)

          First of all, the outer edge of the antimatter sphere is going to contact the air first, but the inside won't quite yet. The outside layer converts to energy, presumably causing an "explosion" which sends energy in all directions, symmetrically, both out into the air and back into the antimatter sphere. This explosion will, for a short period of time, keep the matter and antimatter separate, so they will not be further reacting. After a few milliseconds, more of the antimatter will start reacting, but probably in a nonsymmetrical manner, and we end up with a prolonged (in reactive terms; a fraction of a second instead of the few milliseconds it takes for a normal chemical or even nuclear explosion to take its course) release of energy.

          Thoughts? Am I wrong? Right? Deranged? (Well, yeah.)
      • tephen Hawking jokes that if you ever meet the "anti"-you, don't shake hands.

        Hmmph. I've met quite a few "anti-me" types. The worst that ever happened was a black eye. That Hawking guy ain't so smart after all..

    • It makes German zeppelins sink.
  • Since then (Score:2, Funny)

    by TheFlu ( 213162 )
    The research, which was sponsored by the RIAA, has initiated talks with the trapped atoms, but unfortunately refused to let them go free until they pay their proper licensing fees.
  • Hmm, if we combine anti-hydrogen and anti-oxygen then we could make anti-water! A new sports drink for the new millenium...
    • anti-water! A new sports drink for the new millenium...

      Yeah, and heartburn like you wouldn't believe...

      Oh, the possibilities for tag lines: "It's got BITE!" "A real taste explosion!" "It has quite a kick to it, doesn't it?"

    • A water bottle full of anti water (assuming the bottle had an outer shell of normal matter, with perhaps magnetic coils or something to keep an inner cylinder of antimatter containing the matter), when drunk (actually you'd never taste it or see anything after you opened the lid) would release about 6 megatons of energy, enough to obliterate your whole city.
  • by syzxys ( 557810 ) on Thursday February 21, 2002 @02:41PM (#3046215)

    Last time I heard about any "really new" developments in antimatter, they were just figuring out how to contain 10-100 protons (circa 1992) (I know, I'm dating myself, whatever. :-) This is really cool news.

    Still, even a million atoms is really physically small. I wonder

    Anyway, just my $0.01. :-)

    NEW! Crash Windows NT/2000/XP from any account using only printf! []
    • by AJWM ( 19027 ) on Thursday February 21, 2002 @03:02PM (#3046413) Homepage
      A gram of hydrogen contains about 6x10^23 atoms. Therefore, a "few thousand" weighs about 10^-20 grams -- much less than even the smallest virus.

      As for energy release -- it'd take about a gram of anti-hydrogen suitably reacted with normal matter to produce the equivalent of a small nuclear bomb (if released all at once) or the energy expended by an largish satellite launch vehicle (if released over a period of several minutes).

      Make the math simple, call what they've got the equivalent of 10^-20 of a 10 kiloton nuke (10^10 gm TNT equivalent), then they've got the equivalent of about 1/10 nanogram of TNT. I wouldn't be too worried just yet.
      • Virus Size (Score:5, Funny)

        by Quizme2000 ( 323961 ) on Thursday February 21, 2002 @03:52PM (#3046818) Homepage Journal
        A gram of hydrogen contains about 6x10^23 atoms. Therefore, a "few thousand" weighs about 10^-20 grams -- much less than even the smallest virus.

        Western Digital 120 GB HD = 1.32 lb (+/- 0.14 lb)

        120 GB = 598.742 g
        122, 880 MB = 598.742 g
        125829120 KB = 598.742 g
        128,849,018,880 Bytes = 598.742 g (+/- 63.5029g)

        12 byte virus = 4.6^-10 grams (+/- .43^-10 grams)

        Yep, the smallest virus would still be about twice as heavy as the cluster of antimatter atoms
    • how much it weighs?
      Well, 6.02e23 hydrogen atoms weigh 1 gram, so 1e6 hydrogen atoms should weigh 1.66e-18 grams. A standard paperclip weighs about a gram. If anti-matter exhibits anti-gravity, then it would weigh -1.66e-18 grams.
      whether it's visible to the naked eye?
      Even if you make it solid, no. Maybe if you had a few billion times more atoms and really good eyes...
      how much energy it would give off if you mixed it with hydrogen
      A million hydrogen atoms and a million anti-hydrogen atoms have a combined mass of 3.322e-18 grams. Converting total mass to energy (e = mc^2) gets an energy of .29859 g m^2/s^2, or 7.1317e-5 calories (not dietary Calories; those are different). This is enough to raise the temperature of one gram of water 0.0713 degrees Celsius.
      how long it will be till someone makes a weapon out of it?
      Probably a while.

      Chris Beckenbach

    • I remember reading an article a few years back on scientists combining anti-protons and anti-electrons to make anti-electrons. At the time they were still playing with the data they got, but the figured they made about 12 anti-atoms.

      These guys are interesting in that they actually got the stuff to hold still for a while.
    • how much energy it would give off if you mixed it with hydrogen []?

      Probably negligible compared to the amount of energy needed to create it in the first place.
  • by The Ape With No Name ( 213531 ) on Thursday February 21, 2002 @02:43PM (#3046224) Homepage
    from the antimatter-weapons-coming-soon dept.

    I know that the dept tag is supposed to be funny, but the real benefit of this research is insight into very powerful propulsion systems. No? Not very sustainable at our current rate but definitely the next step toward reaching deeply into space.
    Of course, anti-matter engines are waaaaaaaay off, but I think that we should see from the next-stop-Crab-Nebula dept. rather than from the I-frag-way-too-much dept.

  • Important stuff (Score:4, Insightful)

    by joshv ( 13017 ) on Thursday February 21, 2002 @02:43PM (#3046225)
    The theory goes that anti-hyrdogen should have all the same observable physical properties that hydrogen does. If we can start to manufacturer and store non-trivial quantities of the stuff we can actually start to test whether or not this is true. We can see if it has the same obsorbtion spectrum as hydrogen, the same atomic weight, etc...

    If there is a difference we might be able to use it to confirm or disprove our assumption that the entire universe is made of 'normal' matter. For example, if there is an observable difference between the absorbtion spectra of hydrogen and anti-hydrogen, we'd have a test to determine if a distant galaxy was made of anti-matter. If there is no difference, well, we've found a very expensive way to heat a small cup of coffee.

    • by wiredog ( 43288 )
      If an antimatter galaxy collided with this galaxy that'd ruin your whole day, wouldn't it?

    • The theory goes that anti-hyrdogen should have all the same observable physical properties that hydrogen does.

      I can't wait until they drop some of the anti-hydrogen atoms to whether they fall down or fall up.

      Positron and antiprotons are charged and weigh almost nothing, so electromagnetic forces on them are waaay larger than gravity and you can't really tell if they fall up or down.

      I know current wisdon is that antimatter will fall down... but wouldn't it be cool if the anti-matter fell up, essentially having a negative gravitational "charge"
  • by Myriad ( 89793 ) <myriad.thebsod@com> on Thursday February 21, 2002 @02:44PM (#3046242) Homepage
    In related news the CERN research facility was blown off the map yesterday in what experts are calling a catastrophic power failure.

    Around 9:30 last night a burrowing squirrel shorted out electrical lines causing an initial power surge followed by a blackout.

    Experts believe that researchers had the magnetic containment field generators connected to a household UPS, which proved unable to keep the field in place.

    The result of the containment failure has been described as being very similar to that of a "collapsing hrung." Unfortunately nobody has been able to identify what a hrung is, nor why one should choose to collapse on the CERN facility.

    • [I know this was supposed to be funny, but]

      These were only some hundred atoms, nothing more. Even if they did collide with matter, the damage would not be any worse than if you put a Windows XP CD-Rom into your nuker. Remember, they created those anti-atoms, and conservation of energy dictates that the annihilation of said anti-atoms cannot release any more energy than was needed to create them in the first place.

  • Although it's strongly expected that antimatter will respond to and generate gravity in the same way as normal matter, it's never been experimentally verified because no one's ever had enough antimatter, moving slowly enough, to measure the force of gravity on it. This sounds like it might be a big step towards performing this experiment [].

    If it did have negative gravitic mass, that would have all kinds of funky consequences. Maybe we could stabilize wormholes, and get faster-than-light travel and time travel. Fun to think about, anyway.

  • by Y-Crate ( 540566 ) on Thursday February 21, 2002 @02:49PM (#3046292) of the first things some scientist did after they managed to do capture the stuff was suddenly yell "Antimatter containment is failing! We're gonna have to eject the core!!!!!!!!" before falling to the floor laughing hysterically?

    You know there has to be someone, somewhere who is just dying to be the first person to say that.
    • How cool is that?

    It's lukewarm. Didn't you read the article?

    • "He can't be sure how many atoms they trapped, but says you would get only a tiny amount of energy by combining the antimatter with matter--not even enough to warm a small cup of coffee."

    Seriously though, we're never going to power a warp drive with that. And let's face it, that's what we really care about, right? So we can all become starship engineers, get neat uniforms, and boldy go and score with hot alien chicks.

  • Alright AM freaks, I must admit this is one of the cooles things Ive read on Slashdot in a long time. Certainly one of the most important happenings in the particle physics world for a while IMHO.

    Now, unfortunatley they said they dont even have enough to warm a cup of coffee, How long before weapons research in the US grbs ahold of this ? Or have they already.

    To me this is akin to the first sussefull refinment of weapons grade Plutonium and Uranium.
    Unfortunatley at the moment it requires too much enery to be usefull as an energy storage medium, but could be really cool for Interstellar travel,

    NOW My question, Will Anti-Hydrogen react with say Normal Lithium to create energy or will its positron shell react with at a minimum the elecrton shell of the Lithium ?

    If it dosent , storage should be easier than the trap they are now using,
  • OK. I want somebody to explain just why these guys are figuring out how much anti-matter it takes to heat a cup of coffee.

    Make nuclear proliferation seem like peanuts if the next Mr. Coffee can start a chain reaction that ends the universe.

    With or without cream.

    • The hot water tap here at work isn't quite hot enough to make decent tea; I was thinking it would be nice if there were something you could just add to heat the water with no waste product.

      Sodium was all I could think of, and obviously a bad idea for several reasons, but some anti-water ought to work nicely!

  • by dasmegabyte ( 267018 ) <> on Thursday February 21, 2002 @02:51PM (#3046310) Homepage Journal
    the universe has brought suit against the estate of Albert Einstein, claiming that fission is illegal under the DMCA, and that fair use of elementary particles applies only to cold fusion.
  • Trapping and storing animatter is the first necessary step for utilizing it as an energy source. It wouldn't make much sense to use it planetside as it takes more energy to generate it than it would provide for us, but for space vehicles it would be invaluable.

    • thats not enitirely true.
      the difference in energy might be a reasonable trade off to do away with all the nuclear, coal, and damn energy sources. each one evaluted insipendantly, of course.
      would you pay a half cent more per kilowatt if it replace a coal plant? I would.
      would you pay even maony if it replaced a nuclear plant? I would.(i am not "anti-nuclear", but nuclear plants are very expensive to operate)
      what if it gets to a point where you could go buy a "cell" take it home and do away with the grid?
      of course if oit costs 10 time more, then it would be only used planetside when it space savings are worth the price. i.e. powering lasers in the battle field.
  • Some thoughts (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ShooterNeo ( 555040 ) on Thursday February 21, 2002 @02:55PM (#3046350)
    First, the method they are using to create the antiparticles is rather inefficient...I believe the proportion of energy expended vs energy stored in antiparticles is something on the order of 10^4.

    A far more efficient method involves concentrating an intense pulse of light into a small enough space, to the point that the energy actually becomes matter. This has been demonstrated.

    With efficient free electron lasers, it may be possible to mass produce antimatter on a large scale in this manner, making possible a greater number of experiments, as well as allowing manned interplanetary expeditions (and in theory interstellar).

    Antimatter would make an excellent weapon in addition, since one would have the equivalent of a nuke that could be used on very small scales. You could in theory use it to make, say, antitank bullets that could be fired from a handheld gun. No heavy isotope decay products would be left to contaminate the battlefield, thus avoiding the nastiest side effect of nuclear bombs.

    The big problem with antimatter annihilation, however, is that the energy released comes out in the form of high energy gamma rays. While the energy is there, it is difficult to harness in a practical device, and in the weapon example the gamma rays might irradiate everyone on the battlefield including the wielder of the weapon while doing little actual damage to the tank.

    Finally, doing large scale chemistry experiments using antimatter versions of the elements could be rather'd probably need a kilo or more of the stuff, which would have rather catastrohpic results if it were allowed to interact with normal matter.
    • Re:Some thoughts (Score:4, Informative)

      by Doctor K ( 79640 ) on Thursday February 21, 2002 @03:55PM (#3046838) Homepage
      About the free electron laser part ... it is well beyond present FEL technology. And the technology you describe would have difficulty making anti-protons.

      Suppose you want to create electron-positron pairs via counter-streaming FEL lasers. For the physics buffs out there, the reaction would be similar to the Compton backscattering of light off virtual electron-positron pairs (this non-linear vacuum light interaction was demonstrated at SLAC a year or so ago).

      The FEL laser would have to operate well into the hard gamma (photon energy exceeding the rest mass of the electron). Current multi-pass FEL technology has been demonstrated up to the ultraviolet (~250 nm I think is the current record). Multi-pass X-ray FELs are near impossible to make because of the difficulty of producing high quality laser cavities for X-rays.

      Single pass X-ray FELs (which rely on an electron beam instability instead of a cavity) have been proposed but not yet demonstrated. If I recall correctly, the SASE-FEL program at SLAC to build a $100M dollar X-Ray SASE-FEL (with a 100m long wiggler) did not receive funding.

      That is not to say we are incapable of artifically making hard gamma rays. The aforementioned non-linear light interaction obtained the photons for the experiment by Compton scattering of low energy photons off an ultra-relativistic electron beam. But this would probably be pretty inefficent method to try to create antimatter on a large scale (inefficiencies in electron beam acceleration and cross section issues for both the Compton scattering and the non-linear interaction).

      The other possibility would be to try to do a multi-photon interaction to create the electron-positron pairs. In this method, an incredible high electric field is created such that it becomes energetically favorable for electrons-positron pairs to form to shield out the field. I think this has also been demonstrated with some of the extremely high intensity chirped pulse amplification lasers. However, the effectiveness isn't anything to write home about yet.

      And given the protons mass is 1836 times that of an electron, to create them on a large scale (i.e. micrograms) is not anything I expect to see in the near future.


  • From the article:
    "It's hard to see how you could avoid having some antihydrogen in there," says Gabrielse. He can't be sure how many atoms they trapped, but says you would get only a tiny amount of energy by combining the antimatter with matter--not even enough to warm a small cup of coffee.

    From Sir Ernest Rutherford's speech to the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1933:
    The energy produced by the breaking down of the atom is a very poor kind of thing. Anyone who expects a source of power from the transformation of these atoms is talking moonshine.

    Do they have an UPS on that particle trap?
  • So you can use a magnetic field to trap positrons and/or antiprotons, because they have a charge, but when they form antihydrogen they become neutral. How, exactly, do you store a neutral molecule of antimatter? My understanding is the pennig trap doesn't work this way.
  • by TheGreenLantern ( 537864 ) <> on Thursday February 21, 2002 @02:59PM (#3046379) Homepage Journal
    Pretty damn cool, until bearded, evil versions of ourselves start popping up all over the place.
    • Yes, I concur, but hold on a sec... I haven't shaved in several weeks, so I guess you could say I have a beard. Will the evil version of me then be clean-shaven? If I shave, will he grow a beard? Are good-evil facial hair configurations inversely related? Am I in serious need of sleep?
      • I can answer that first question.

        Since you have a beard, you must be the evil one. Therefore, you may indeed find a good version of yourself that is clean shaven.

        If this concerns you, just remember that evil always triumphs over good, because good is dumb. :)~
    • I think this allready happened in the 90's.
      for a while there I couldn't go anywhere without see a lot of people in goatees and smoking cigars.

    • Pretty damn cool, until bearded, evil versions of ourselves start popping up all over the place.
      You say that like it's a bad thing. How else are we supposed to take over the world?
  • anti Sb? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Menoyoda ( 67806 ) on Thursday February 21, 2002 @03:01PM (#3046404)
    Call it Mony?
  • Now that anti-hydrogen is so easily made, I just have to wait until they make anti-oxygen too. Combine them to make anti-H2O, and when I drink it it'll make thirsty...
  • Quantum Phsyics (Score:2, Insightful)

    I can't remember much of my quantum physics since it's been a year or 2, but I"m goin to pull out the book and see if I can help. First, the difference between a particle and antiparticle is that the antiparticle has the exact same properties but an opposite charge (and other properties which are opposite signed)

    energy released: (Energy is released when an antimatter particle comes in contact with it's opposite particle) e- + e+ (electron plus a positron) releases rougly 1.022MeV of energy
    a proton plus an antiproton releases 2 * 938 MeV or 3 * 10^-10 joules per reaction. (The energy is released as photons)

    The problem with detecting them is that light and anti light are identical.

    Now lets see what energy of 1kg of protons woudl release: 1kg * 1proton/(1.67*10^-24 gm) = 5.69*10^26 protons

    5.69*10^26 protons * 3*10^010 J/(proton reaction) = 1.78 * 10^17 J or about 50 billion Kilowatts

  • by NitsujTPU ( 19263 ) on Thursday February 21, 2002 @03:13PM (#3046503)
    Yeah yeah, but we won't go anywhere if we can't get some dilithium crystals captain!
  • I can see it now. Our first Anti-Hydrogen space ship explodes upon landing, so we switch to Anti-Helium, because it's safer. ;-)

  • How much power? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cdgod ( 132891 )
    Can anyone sum up how much power it takes to create a gram of antimatter? And how much power would a gram of antimater give when it collides with regular matter?

    Remember E=mc^2 ? So, since you have 1 mass being antimatter and other mass being regular matter, and they both annihilate each other into energy wouldn't the output energy be
    E = kc^2
    k = Mass of Antimatter + Mass of Regular matter

    So, in the future, even if it costs us 1.9999999 units of energy to create 1 unit of energy worth of antimatter, we would be annihilating it with normal matter (with costs nothing). Then the result would be 2 units of energy. The surplus energy would be minimal (0.0000001 units), but with enough of a kick, we could have this surplus creating more antimatter, right?

    (/end rambling)
  • by dpilot ( 134227 ) on Thursday February 21, 2002 @03:31PM (#3046654) Homepage Journal
    So how do you keep a neutral particle in an electromagnetic field? Ionize it, and it's just an antiproton, again. It would seem to me that the lightest *anti-atom* you could keep in an electromagnetic field would be singly-ionized antihelium. (After all, doubly-ionized antihelium is just an anti-alpha particle, or is that alpha anti-particle?)
  • by 4of12 ( 97621 ) on Thursday February 21, 2002 @03:34PM (#3046687) Homepage Journal

    So, uhh, why does this matter?

    <ducks while running out door>

  • by gder ( 560819 ) on Thursday February 21, 2002 @04:00PM (#3046868) This is the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. They have extensive information on particles, particle physics, and how they collider works in general. A very good read if you really want to find out about gluons, quarks, leptons, and all of their asociated anti-particles. G-der
  • Does antimatter exhibit anti-gravitational forces? One thing I've always been facisnated with, is the idea of anti-gravity. The way I see it, if there are north and south polarities with magnets, why can't we find the equivalent repellent gravitational force?

"Conversion, fastidious Goddess, loves blood better than brick, and feasts most subtly on the human will." -- Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway"