Scientists want to find out why our universe lacks equal amounts of matter and antimatter

Theoretical physicists are puzzled by the virtual absence of antimatter in our Universe.
By Lliane Hunter | Dec 09, 2018
One of the leading mysteries of modern science is the theory of antimatterthere should be an equal ratio of antimatter to matter, but antimatter is almost entirely absent from the cosmos. British physicist Paul Dirac provided the theory of antimatter, predicting that for every known particle there is a corresponding "anti-particle." As physics researcher Don Lincoln explains in an article for CNN, antimatter is exactly like matter, but with opposite electric charge.

Einstein's theory of general relativity tells us that when you make matter, anequal amount of antimatter is made. In fact, researchers have made antimatter using giant particle accelerators at Fermilab in Illinois, or CERN. Thus, theprocess is well understoodenergy always makes matter and antimatter in equal quantities. Our Universe should have modeled this calculationas it "expanded and cooled, it should have made equal amounts of matter and antimatter," writes Lincoln. "Yet our universe consists essentially entirely of matter, and therein lies the problem."

Researchers are attempting to resolve this discrepancy, like the recent ALPHA collaboration at CERN. The team is examining the light emitted or absorbed from hydrogen atoms. By measuring the wavelengths of light between hydrogen and antihydrogen, they would be able to find the differences between matter and antimatter. A modified version of the ALPHA experiment will test whether gravity affects antimatter in the same way it affects matter. Experiments like ALPHA have the goal of "... developing techniques and technologies that could answer this incredibly perplexing question," writes Lincoln.


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