Canadian Researchers Join Mission to Capture Antimatter

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Several scientists that include experts from Canada are claiming that they have done the impossible: capture antimatter.

In basic terms, antimatter is electronically the exact opposite of matter. And while it does not exist in nature now, it was thought to be in abundance when the universe was created. University of Calgary assistant physics professor and Vancouver-based TRIUMF research scientist Makoto Fujiwara confirm that antimatter must have existed in the very beginning of the universe, although it no longer in exists now.

The team announced their findings in the Scientific Journal Nature, after five years of studying at the CERN European Organization for Nuclear Research Center near Geneva, Switzerland. It’s the biggest particle-physics lab in the world and the only one equipped to study antimatter.

Makoto Fujiwara reports they were able to create antimatter by using extremely high-speed collisions of hydrogen, which has a simple atomic structure that makes it ideal for studying antimatter. For a fraction of a second, his team was able to catch around 40 antimatter atoms, which University of Calgary Head of Physics and Astronomy Rob Thompson conceded is an incredibly small amount.

Thompson stated that their findings are purely for scientific benefits at this point in time – as they test the fundamental theories surrounding antimatter – and there are no direct applications yet for their research.

Fujiwara added that further advances in the study of antimatter should be able to help science better understand the origins of the universe. Both scientists are doubtful about the chances of antimatter being used to fuel space travel, as depicted in science fiction. It is also deemed impractical for antimatter to be a source of energy, since it cancels itself out upon contact with matter.

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Image: “A Galactic Cloud of Antimatter” / Source:  Wikipedia