Ask the average man in the street “Oi-mate-what’s the antimatter?” and he’d probably tell you that antimatter is a particulate wave-particle phenomenon, obeying the laws of quantum mechanics exactly as matter does, except it’s negative. If pushed, and he had time to spare from, say, putting up a bit of scaffold or clearing your rubbish bins, he would probably quote the well known Schrodinger equation, which says it all as far as we’re concerned:
or to put it layman’s terms:
reproduced courtesy of wikipedia
Now that’s cleared up, let’s get to the point. Which is that anti matter is the direct opposite of matter. When they meet they mutually annihilate. With a huge bang. Which could be an enormous source of energy. Or a great new weapon to fight baddy aliens. The problem is finding it. Because to make even a tiny sample is incredibly tricky and expensive, and it only lasts for about one million billionth of a microsecond.
All of which raises a problem. If antimatter and matter are completely equal and symmetrical they must have been present when the Big Bang went off, right? Which must must have left equal amounts of both scattered around the universe, like old chips from a carelessly-discarded take away meal. Except it isn’t like that. Everywhere you look, it’s about 99.99999% matter. So have we got it wrong about antimatter? Or the big bang? Or what? That excellent web site Live Science has a great take on this at number #5 on the link below-and there’s a few more headbreakers as well. Enjoy.
#antimatter #matter #bigbang #quantumphysics #unsolvedproblems #space #time