Explaining the Missing Antimatter

Posted on March 19, 2008  Comments (2)

Flipping particle could explain missing antimatter

It is one the biggest mysteries in physics – where did all the antimatter go? Now a team of physicists claims to have found the first ever hint of an answer in experimental data. The findings could signal a major crack in the standard model, the theoretical edifice that describes nature’s fundamental particles and forces.

In its early days, the cosmos was a cauldron of radiation and equal amounts of matter and antimatter. As it cooled, all the antimatter annihilated in collisions with matter – but for some reason the proportions ended up lopsided, leaving some of the matter intact.

Physicists think the explanation for this lies with the weak nuclear force, which differs from the other fundamental forces in that it does not act equally on matter and antimatter. This asymmetry, called CP violation, could have allowed the matter to survive to form the elements, stars and galaxies we see today.

“It is tantalisingly interesting at the moment,” says Val Gibson, an expert on B meson physics at the University of Cambridge. “If it is true, it is earth-shattering.” Jacobo Konigsberg, who leads the CDF collaboration, says that Tevatron researchers are “cautiously excited” about the analysis. He points out that more data needs to be analysed to rule out a statistical fluke, which has happened several times before in particle physics.

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2 Responses to “Explaining the Missing Antimatter”

  1. kangomommy
    March 19th, 2008 @ 10:25 pm

    Ack! Physics! I’m failing it right now! But will try to earn some brownie points by posting about this in class. 😉 I’m also sharing the interesting abstract below about language development with my fellow speech/language students.

    You always find the most interesting, eclectic mix of information to share. Thank you!

  2. CuriousCat: Matter-Antimatter Split Hints at Physics Breakdown
    April 6th, 2008 @ 6:53 pm

    “Nature may have handed scientists a new clue in a longstanding mystery: how matter beat out antimatter for dominance of the universe…”

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