Findings on antimatter may reveal cosmic mysteries

Where the other half goes

Among other things, the crucial findings may help researchers understand how the present universe has shaped up since its creation from the Big Bang 13.7 bn years ago. Big Bang created equal amount of matter and anti-matter. What remains one of the great scientific mysteries is what happened to all antimatter because the universe contain matter overwhelmingly.

“The new discovery might help understand the predominance of matter over anti-matter,” scientists from Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre in Kolkata who were part of the global team told Deccan Herald. The team comprises about hundred researchers from 54 institutions in 13 countries.

Following the Big Bang there were matter and antimatter produced in equal quantities. “The question is why do one see only matter and no anti matter,” said D P Mahapatra from the Institute of Physics in Bhubaneswar.

The experiment was conducted at Brookhaven National Laboratory using a facility known as relativistic heavy ion collider to recreate the Big Bang conditions. “The experiment reproduces a scenario almost the same as the early universe. The antimatter produced was converted to other particles through various kind of interactions. This is exactly what happened during the Big Bang and that is why in todays universe we see only matter but no anti matter,” Mahapatra said.

The discovery would be extremely useful in probing the fundamental aspects of nuclear physics and cosmology.

Predicted by Paul Dirac in 1928 and discovered by Carl Anderson in 1932, antimatter is just the opposite of regular matter. They don’t exist in real world but can be produced through carefully planned experiments. When matter and anti-matter meets, they annihilate each other producing large amount of energy. This has opened up debates on whether antimatter can be harnessed as a source of energy.

- For the first time, scientists develop core of an antimatter
- Creation of antimatter could explain why present universe is entirely matter
- The discovery would be useful in probing the fundamental aspects of nuclear physics and cosmology
- Meeting of matter and antimatter produces energy

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