Scientists get closer to solving mystery of antimatter

Kathmandu: Scientists have made a key discovery about antimatter – a mysterious substance which was plentiful when the Universe began.

Antimatter is the opposite of matter, from which stars and planets are made.

Both were created in equal amounts in the Big Bang which formed our Universe. While matter is everywhere, though, its opposite is now fiendishly hard to find.

The latest study has discovered the two respond to gravity in the same way.

For years, physicists have been scrambling to discover their differences and similarities, to explain how the Universe arose.

Discovering that antimatter rose in response to gravity, instead of falling would have blown apart what we know about physics.

They’ve now confirmed for the first time that atoms of antimatter fall downwards. But far from being a scientific dead end this opens the doors to new experiments and theories. Does it fall at the same speed, for example?

During the Big Bang, matter and antimatter should have combined and cancelled each other, leaving nothing but light. Why they didn’t is one of physics’ great mysteries and uncovering differences between the two is the key to solving it.

Somehow matter overcame antimatter in those first moments of creation. How it responds to gravity, may hold the key, according to Dr Danielle Hodgkinson, a member of the research team at Cern in Switzerland, the world’s largest particle physics laboratory.

Most antimatter exists only fleetingly in the Universe, for fractions of seconds. So to carry out experiments, the Cern team needed to make it in a stable and long-lasting form.

(News Source: BBC)