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Antimatter Atoms Captured

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the antimatter-weapons-coming-soon dept.

Science 476

Whamo writes: "Researchers at CERN think they have created and stored thousands of antiatoms in a particle trap. The researchers first used powerful magnetic fields to trap antiprotons then exposed this to a beam of positrons. Initial results indicate that at least some of the antiparticles have bound together to become neutral antihydrogen atoms. How cool is that?"

cancel ×

476 comments

hot meat (-1)

SweetAndSourJesus (555410) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046123)

oh yeah

so hot

and meaty

20 seconds, 20 seconds

Hi (-1, Offtopic)

PoiBoy (525770) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046132)

First post. I've got way too much karma. Karma Suicide NOW!

Re:Hi (-1)

SweetAndSourJesus (555410) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046246)

You didn't get it, but you did get modded down. Congrats.

How cool is that? (5, Funny)

wiredog (43288) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046138)

Well, that would depend on how fast the anti-hydrogen atoms are moving, wouldn't it?

Question (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3046283)

Hey, what does this mean, it was under my 404 errors on my server

/scripts/root.exe?/c+dir 985 -
/MSADC/root.exe?/c+dir 973 -
/c/winnt/system32/cmd.exe?/c+dir 967 -
/d/winnt/system32/cmd.exe?/c+dir 965 -
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/scripts/..%c0%af../winnt/system32/cmd.exe?/c+di r 947 -
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/scripts/..%25%35%63../winnt/system32/cmd.exe?/c +d ir 945 -
/scripts/..%252f../winnt/system32/cmd.exe?/c+dir

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3046334)

Good to see the trolls can rip off Kuro5hin diaries [kuro5hin.org] .

Yeah? (4, Funny)

somethingwicked (260651) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046139)

Well, how does this matter?

*grin*

Re:Yeah? (4, Funny)

Stavr0 (35032) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046144)

Slashdot
News for Nerds. Stuff that's antimatter.

Or... (1)

orcrist (16312) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046373)

Slashdot
News for Nerds. Stuff that doesn't antimatter.

Re:Yeah? (0, Redundant)

orcrist (16312) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046308)

we need a metamoderate choice: stupid.

For those who don't get it, the parent post (currently at 0) has been moderated offtopic and flamebait.

For the brain-damaged: Antimatter... how does this matter? Get it?

Jeez. (using my +2 to keep the thread visible.)

a little help here? (2)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046145)

"Researchers at CERN think they have created and stored thousands of antiatoms in a particle trap."

Ok, they THINK they have? How can you tell?

IAECOTT--I am extremely clueless on this topic, so please someone out there give a newbie a little help with this....

thanks, and I hope to god I am not the only clueless one on this subject here. :)

Re:a little help here? (3, Funny)

connorbd (151811) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046178)

It's particle physics -- they're Uncertain...

(ducks flying objects)

/Brian

Re:a little help here? (2, Interesting)

2nd Post! (213333) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046325)

Unless I'm much mistaken, an antiparticle is completely neutral; one anti-proton of negative charge, one positron of positive charge, and one anti-neutron of neutral charge. From a distance it should look identical to a standard hydrogen atom.

The only way they can test it is if they fire off a single hydrogen atom in there and note the massive explosion followed by all the other anti-particles flying out of containment and then destroying the rest of the normal matter in anti-matter-matter annihilation.

For all they know, firing a stream of positrons at anti-protons created normal atoms (since this is all theory)

What I wonder is how they're gonna get rid of several thousand anti-hydrogen!

Re:a little help here? (1)

Drachemorder (549870) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046395)

"Unless I'm much mistaken, an antiparticle is completely neutral; one anti-proton of negative charge, one positron of positive charge, and one anti-neutron of neutral charge."

Can there be any such thing as an anti-neutron, since neutrons have no charge to begin with?

WHY WHY WHY DIRTY GNU HIPPY (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3046329)

IAECOTT--I am extremely clueless on this topic

Why use the acronym if you are just going to type it all out anyway? That seems like twice the effort for none of the return.

Re:a little help here? (4, Informative)

Sir Tristam (139543) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046345)

Well, according to the article some of the particles in the trap did not move when they exposed the particle trap to a magnetic field, and they are using this as the basis for the supposition. Since they put anti-protons (negative charge) and anti-electrons (positive charge) in the trap, the magnetic field should make all the free anti-protons move one direction and all the free anti-electrons (aka positrons) move the other direction. An anti-hydrogen atom (hydrogen anti-atom?) would have one anti-proton and one anti-electron which would (essentially) net out, and so should not move under the influence of the magnetic field.

To double-check this, they're going to run the experiment again, and do a spectral analysis of what they've got in the particle trap later this year. I guess they've already got a theory on how the spectral emission/absorption lines of anti-hydrogen will compare to those of hydrogen.

Chris Beckenbach

cheap shot... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3046151)

Researchers at CERN think they have created and stored thousands of antiatoms in a particle trap..
But they're afraid to look...

How cool is that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3046153)

Well, that's one hot topic!

how cool? (1)

lfourrier (209630) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046158)

very hot, when they leave the trap...

Re:how cool? (2, Interesting)

Hittite Creosote (535397) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046333)

The article stated that the amount of heat emitted if these antimatter atoms encountered matter wouldn't heat a cup of coffee, before any of the more panicky readers of /. start expecting the end of the world

AntiHydrogen atom? (2, Interesting)

L-Wave (515413) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046161)

Pardon my stupidity on the subject, but what exactly does an ANTI-hydrogen atom do? Is a particular application of this type of knowledge useable such as radioactive waste disposal or something? *clueless*

Re:AntiHydrogen atom? (2, Informative)

JoeLinux (20366) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046198)

The idea is that if you have a hydrogen and an anti-hydrogen meet, there will be a huge explosion of energy. Stephen Hawking jokes that if you ever meet the "anti"-you, don't shake hands.

Joe

Yup (3, Informative)

wiredog (43288) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046239)

It'd be 100% pure unadulterated MC^2

Yummy on Cheerios.

Re:AntiHydrogen atom? (3, Interesting)

Magar (560784) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046356)

Basically, the anti-matter/matter reaction is the most efficent mass to energy conversion there is. Take something like a nuclear warhead - the actual 'core' of the warhead isn't all that big, roughly the size of a basketball, depending on the KT rating of the device. The massive energy output is derived from an extremely inefficent conversion of that into energy. If I remember my science correctly, only about 1-3% of the core is converted into energy, the rest is spread as radioactive material.

Anti-matter/matter is a 100% conversion of matter into energy, and unlike a nuclear explosion where the only way to get energy out of a core is by a massive, simultanious event, you can in theory feed a controlled amount of anti-matter into a suitable 'reactor', and produce a controlled reaction. Due to the near perfect mass/energy conversion, you can generate a lot of power from a very small amount of fuel, meaning things like fueling spaceships become a lot more practicle since you don't have to lug around thousands of tons of chemical fuel everywhere you go.

Of course, a few hundred atoms of anti-matter isn't much, and won't generate much energy. In time though, research like this will hopefully lead to the ability to generate large amount of anti-matter, allowing us access to a very powerful form of stored energy to do all sorts of cool things - one of the first I'm sure will be anti-matter weapons. :(

Re:AntiHydrogen atom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3046200)

Anti-matter bombs, anti-matter reactors... haven't you ever read any science fiction?

Re:AntiHydrogen atom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3046208)

Antimatter is matter that is created when the electronics and protons orbit in a counter-clockwise fashion rather than clockwise, like regular matter.

Sort of like how water spins down the drain in a different direction in the southern hemisphere than in the northern hemisphere.

Re:AntiHydrogen atom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3046280)

Antimatter has *nothing* to do with the orbit of the particles. Antimatter is just like normal matter, but the particles have opposite charges, i.e. antiproton -> -1, positron -> +1 and so on.

Re:AntiHydrogen atom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3046299)

LOL. Good one!

Re:AntiHydrogen atom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3046313)

Antimatter is matter that is created when the electronics and protons orbit in a counter-clockwise fashion rather than clockwise, like regular matter.

Since when did VCR's and stereo's learn to fly?

Re:AntiHydrogen atom? (1)

GreyPoopon (411036) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046231)

Pardon my stupidity on the subject, but what exactly does an ANTI-hydrogen atom do?

It sits there and looks cute. According to the article, if you put it into a boxing ring with a normal atom, they would fight, annihilate each other, and maybe produce enough energy to warm your cup of coffee a tad. I'm surprised though. I was expecting the energy released from such a collision to be pretty large.

I also read somewhere years ago that there was speculation that antimatter of this sort may possess anti-gravity. I don't know how true this is, as I haven't followed particle physics very closely.

Re:AntiHydrogen atom? (1)

k12boy (537697) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046286)

The amount of energy released is VERY large. mc^2, in fact. The reason it doesn't seem like a lot is the mass of a single hydrogen atom is pretty tiny. Get a gram of the stuff though...

Re:AntiHydrogen atom? (1)

GreyPoopon (411036) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046312)

The amount of energy released is VERY large. mc^2, in fact.

Any idea as to how this compares to the energy required to CREATE and HOLD the anti-hydrogen atom in the first place? Would this be a viable energy source? (create anti-hydrogen, hold, combine with hydrogen, harness resulting energy) Would this provide significantly more energy than burning hydrogen gas or the like? (Physics is not my forte).

Re:AntiHydrogen atom? (1)

TheRain (67313) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046394)

Great, so how long untill I get an anti-matter engine in my car? I'd like one gram of hydrogen and one gram of anti-hydrogen please! Fill 're up!

Re:AntiHydrogen atom? (5, Informative)

s20451 (410424) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046401)

The mass of an antihydrogen atom is roughly 1e-27 kilograms, the same as a hydrogen atom. Using Einstein's famous formula, with the speed of light given as 3e+8 meters/second, the annihilation of one anti-hydrogen atom and one hydrogen atom would produce 2*(1e-27)*(3e+8)^2 = 1.8e-10 joules. The specific heat capacity of water is 4.2 J/(g*K), so 1.8e-10 joules would raise a 300g cup of coffee by 1.4e-13 degrees Kelvin. (I haven't had my coffee yet ... does that sound right? Anyone?)

The point is, one hydrogen atom makes little difference, but annihilating kilogram's worth of hydrogen atoms would liberate 9,000 terajoules of energy. Compare that to a kilogram of coal, wood, or oil ...

Re:AntiHydrogen atom? (0, Redundant)

EricKrout.com (559698) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046258)

"Antihydrogen is an atom made entirely of antiparticles: while ordinary hydrogen consists of a positive proton with a negative electron orbiting around it, the antihydrogen atom has a negative "antiproton" in the centre bound to a positive "positron".
...
Pioneering experiments at CERN and more recently at Fermilab in the US, had only one aim : to produce and to detect a few antihydrogen atoms. They succeeded in demonstrating that antihydrogen can indeed be produced, but the real goal is more challenging: the precise comparison of the physical properties of matter and antimatter atoms. Three quarters of our universe is hydrogen and much of what we have learned about it has been found by studying ordinary hydrogen. If the behaviour of antihydrogen differed even in the tiniest detail from that of ordinary hydrogen, physicists would have to rethink or abandon many of the established ideas on the symmetry between matter and antimatter.
...
Just over a year after the announcement of the production of the first 9 anti-atoms at CERN (PR 01.96) in January 1995, the approval of the Antiproton Decelerator opens up new exciting research possibilities for scientists from all over the world waiting to increase our knowledge of antimatter. The questions are fundamental : Why, if the same quantities of matter and antimatter were produced during the Big Bang, as is supposed, is our Universe made entirely of matter? Does gravity has the same effect on antimatter as it does on matter? The solutions to these questions could lie in the results which will be produced by the Antiproton Decelerator?"

- from http://press.web.cern.ch/Press/Releases97/PR01.97E AntiprotonDec.html

Re:AntiHydrogen atom? (1, Insightful)

wavecentral (442848) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046343)

one use for anti-matter is being able to harvest it, and use it for propulsion. Also, harvesting of anti-matter, or actually the anti-engery that is created by the presence of anti-matter, in enough quantities, can be a big enough negative energy to help in holding wormholes open by creating a Casmir effect ultimately, making Einstein-Rosen bridge a possibility. ->MAG

Re:AntiHydrogen atom? (1)

skilef (525335) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046392)

Anti-matter serves the same purpose as matter. Since matter and anti-matter are thought to be formed through the Big Bang, the best possible application, if we're able to control it properly, would be to generate the energy that's stored in the matter/anti-matter 'cleavage'. This is only possible, however, if theoreticists are right about the reversibility of the Big Bang.

dang (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3046163)

anti-matter particle traps, immagine a beowolf cluster of those things...

You think that's something??? (0)

Festering Leper (456849) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046165)

You should see what i find in my particle trap :)

Happened to me once.... (0)

Yoda2 (522522) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046169)

I thought I had traped some antiprotons once. Turned out to be Cheerios [cheerios.com] . Oh well, live an learn.

Not soon enough... (1)

Exantrius (43176) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046181)

from the antimatter-weapons-coming-soon dept

... My Midterm starts in an hour...
/ex

Re:Not soon enough... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3046272)

Then why are you reading Slashdot?! Study! Quickly!

Since then (2, Funny)

TheFlu (213162) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046183)

The research, which was sponsored by the RIAA, has initiated talks with the trapped atoms, but unfortunately refused to let them go free until they pay their proper licensing fees.

Does this solve the following problem: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3046205)

If you eat pasta with antipasto, do they cancel each other out, leaving you still hungry?

Re:Does this solve the following problem: (-1)

HBD (450014) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046279)

they just blow you head off and leave you not worrying about hunger

anti-hydrogen + anti-oxygen? (2, Funny)

sgtron (35704) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046206)

Hmm, if we combine anti-hydrogen and anti-oxygen then we could make anti-water! A new sports drink for the new millenium...

Re:anti-hydrogen + anti-oxygen? (3, Funny)

DeadVulcan (182139) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046339)

anti-water! A new sports drink for the new millenium...

Yeah, and heartburn like you wouldn't believe...

Oh, the possibilities for tag lines: "It's got BITE!" "A real taste explosion!" "It has quite a kick to it, doesn't it?"

anti matter (1, Insightful)

rigau (122636) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046213)

Im not a physics major so excuse me if this is a stupid question but exactly how dangerous is this? is anyone taking this into account before we collapse the fabric of the universe or something like that. the article says that a lot of energy ca be released whe an anti whaever comes in contact with its positive counterpart. Usually things that release a lot of energy can be very dangerous and the more energy the more so they are. Gasoline is dangerous when it releases energy but uranium is more dangerous when it releases energy.

Re:anti matter (2)

krugdm (322700) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046236)

I believe the article mentions that the potential energy that could be released would not be enough to even "warm up a cup of coffee."

Re:anti matter (1)

Schwamm (513960) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046264)

In the article they say that the amount of anti-matter that they might have isn't even enough to heat a small cup of coffee.

Down the line, if they manage to generate enough anti-matter to actually do something with, well... Even that would be hard. You need to isolate the anti-matter with magnetic fields so anything anti-stuff you build from anti-matter would have to be isolated.

Honestly, we're so far from that stage anyway that until they can get enough energy going to pop popcorn, I'm not going to worry about it.

Re:anti matter (1)

syzxys (557810) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046266)

According to the article, it's only "a couple thousand atoms" so you probably wouldn't even notice if it hit you. Ordinary objects (e.g. pretzel, human being) contain at least 10 orders of magnitude more atoms. Personally, I'd be more worried about the containment apparatus blowing up.

before we collapse the fabric of the universe or something like that

Antimatter behaves just like ordinary matter, except (a) opposite electric charge, (b) opposite parity (left-right orientation, e.g. of spin), (c) opposite direction in time (whatever that means) [lbl.gov] . I wouldn't worry. Besides, how would we stop these people anyway? :-)

---
NEW! Crash Windows NT/2000/XP from any account using only printf! [zappadoodle.com]

Re:anti matter (1)

Quixadhal (45024) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046274)

Also not having a strong physics background, but if anti-particles annihilate themselves when coming into contact with their positive counterpart, one would assume that an anti-atom would also release the energy used in the strong-force bond of the anti-particles. Hence, we'd have a tiny version of a nuclear reaction.

Can anyone who IS a physics person describe how this might really work?

Re:anti matter (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3046326)

I doubt we rip the fabric of time and space any time soon... that would require more power than we can even theoretically generate with theoretical generators that we have imagined in science so far. Though you do have to worry abou that torroid black hole generator that goes online soon in europe.

Remember, anti-particles exist through out the universe as a result of certain energy/mass exchanges and reactions... they are shortlived as even in a vacume in deep space there are particles a plenty and they react violently in self immolating fashion upon interaction with them.

I am worried as to how they are trapping these pesky little buggers. It takes alot of energy to do that I would think, and what happens if containment fails (even for the few microseconds)... blammo! Particle for particle, there is no higher amount of energy released (theoretically) than through the interaction of "normal" and "anti" matter. A few particles could still produce prodigious amounts of rapidly released energy.

I do think that this is tre cool though. This technology, combined with fusion (which is getting closer, though no reactor has yet to produce more power than it consumes) could give us the stars. I read a recent article where fusion as a practical power source on earth in reasonably compact and affordable fashion is less than 50 years out. Comine that with Ionic engines (you can hoist alot of ionic fuel into orbit with nearly unlimited power on tap from fusion) or a p/Ap engine and you get some serious speed.

I also read an interesting article recently by CERN scientist involved in gravimetric research... their aP research is tied into this somehow as they theorize that Gravity is a dimensional wave that can be recreated. Now that is very cool.

Don't get your panties in a knot just yet.... (2)

wunderhorn1 (114559) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046355)

Fortunately, the researchers at CERN probably were physics majors, so they knew that while, yes, when antimatter collides with matter and disappears it releases (comparatively) huge amounts of energy, they only have a few thousand atoms collected together in their trap.

If you remember anything form high-school physics, you'll know that's not many.

Or, as the researcher interviewed put it, "you would get only a tiny amount of energy by combining the antimatter with matter--not even enough to warm a small cup of coffee."

Re:anti matter (1)

lordaych (560786) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046371)

The cool thing about anti-matter is that it annihilates perfectly with matter, releasing pure energy. It's essentially the cleanest-burning reaction in the Universe. When an electron and a positron (anti-electron) collide, for example, two gamma rays are released, and absolutely nothing else. The potential applications for a 100% efficient matter-to-energy system are endless; "they" have been scratching their heads for years figuring out a way to combine anti-matter and regular matter to form a sort of propulsion system for spacecraft. As of now the only way to go is ionic propulsion, which generates the amount of force that a piece of paper laying flat on your hand does. Imagine instead a thruster blasting out high-energy gamma rays. Whee! Black holes generate anti-matter on a regular basis, this is how light escapes in the form of "hawking radiation." Unless they created an equivalent amount of anti-matter to the mass of the Earth, there is little risk for destroying our planet. The energy conserved in the strong nuclear bonds within the subatomic particles is converted into pure light, which is only dangerous if you've got an extraordinarily massive amount of "combustion" going on.

slashdot has reached a new low (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3046380)

omg I can't believe someone modded parent up.

Re:anti matter (2)

xercist (161422) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046402)

You can't get more energy out of the system than you put into it. They used energy to create these antiparticles, so they know how much would be created if they came in contact with normal matter.

Wow, antimatter atoms already (5, Interesting)

syzxys (557810) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046215)

Last time I heard about any "really new" developments in antimatter, they were just figuring out how to contain 10-100 protons (circa 1992) (I know, I'm dating myself, whatever. :-) This is really cool news.

Still, even a million atoms is really physically small. I wonder

Anyway, just my $0.01. :-)

---
NEW! Crash Windows NT/2000/XP from any account using only printf! [zappadoodle.com]

no big deal (0)

x1l (258922) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046217)

oxiclean is made of this stuff. just ask billy mays.

How Cool Is That? (1)

skinney (395862) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046218)

Very, Very Cool!

~Shane

How cool is that? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3046220)

So I went into your room, and read your diary!

Beating plowshares into swords (5, Informative)

The Ape With No Name (213531) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046224)

from the antimatter-weapons-coming-soon dept.


I know that the dept tag is supposed to be funny, but the real benefit of this research is insight into very powerful propulsion systems. No? Not very sustainable at our current rate but definitely the next step toward reaching deeply into space.
Of course, anti-matter engines are waaaaaaaay off, but I think that we should see from the next-stop-Crab-Nebula dept. rather than from the I-frag-way-too-much dept.

Important stuff (4, Insightful)

joshv (13017) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046225)

The theory goes that anti-hyrdogen should have all the same observable physical properties that hydrogen does. If we can start to manufacturer and store non-trivial quantities of the stuff we can actually start to test whether or not this is true. We can see if it has the same obsorbtion spectrum as hydrogen, the same atomic weight, etc...

If there is a difference we might be able to use it to confirm or disprove our assumption that the entire universe is made of 'normal' matter. For example, if there is an observable difference between the absorbtion spectra of hydrogen and anti-hydrogen, we'd have a test to determine if a distant galaxy was made of anti-matter. If there is no difference, well, we've found a very expensive way to heat a small cup of coffee.

-josh

Wow (2)

wiredog (43288) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046263)

If an antimatter galaxy collided with this galaxy that'd ruin your whole day, wouldn't it?

Re:Important stuff (-1)

five dollar troll (541247) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046289)

possibly a very stupid question, but if anti-hydrogen (anti-matter) has the EXACT SAME observable properties as hydrogen (matter), then what is the difference? What makes it anti-hydrogen? Wouldn't it just be regular hydrogen??

BRAIN ANEURYSM!!!

Drop It!!! (2)

EccentricAnomaly (451326) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046315)


The theory goes that anti-hyrdogen should have all the same observable physical properties that hydrogen does.


I can't wait until they drop some of the anti-hydrogen atoms to whether they fall down or fall up.

Positron and antiprotons are charged and weigh almost nothing, so electromagnetic forces on them are waaay larger than gravity and you can't really tell if they fall up or down.

I know current wisdon is that antimatter will fall down... but wouldn't it be cool if the anti-matter fell up, essentially having a negative gravitational "charge"

Warp-Drives are next (0)

Gambit-x7x (537495) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046227)

What out Scotty here we come

In Related News... CERN Disappears (5, Funny)

Myriad (89793) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046242)

In related news the CERN research facility was blown off the map yesterday in what experts are calling a catastrophic power failure.

Around 9:30 last night a burrowing squirrel shorted out electrical lines causing an initial power surge followed by a blackout.

Experts believe that researchers had the magnetic containment field generators connected to a household UPS, which proved unable to keep the field in place.

The result of the containment failure has been described as being very similar to that of a "collapsing hrung." Unfortunately nobody has been able to identify what a hrung is, nor why one should choose to collapse on the CERN facility.

Re:In Related News... CERN Disappears (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3046284)

Are you trying to be funny? Because no one gets it...

Re:In Related News... CERN Disappears (1)

BlueMonk (101716) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046322)

... still baffled by the fact that the whole place went up with less energy than is required to heat a cup of coffee, the investigators have taken to drinking frappuccino.

Hey, get real (2)

BlueUnderwear (73957) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046338)

[I know this was supposed to be funny, but]

These were only some hundred atoms, nothing more. Even if they did collide with matter, the damage would not be any worse than if you put a Windows XP CD-Rom into your nuker. Remember, they created those anti-atoms, and conservation of energy dictates that the annihilation of said anti-atoms cannot release any more energy than was needed to create them in the first place.

How cool is that? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046245)

My bags are packed, let's blow this hotdog stand, when do we leave for Alpha Centauri?

Power for the masses (1)

Walterk (124748) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046251)

So, when do we get to see anitmatter powered stuff? Should be good to power a decent size beowulf cluster for some time. Or space travel. Or to some any energy crisis at hand. Or replace nuclear power stations, and whatever filthy mannter or producing energy us puny earthlings use.

their first clue was... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3046256)

the enormous explosion when the opened the lid.

I just hope... (1)

hypergreatthing (254983) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046257)

that whatever power supply they have to keep those particles stored never goes out. Because if it does, they're going to have a loud bang.

It'd be fun if it has negative gravity (2)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046277)

Although it's strongly expected that antimatter will respond to and generate gravity in the same way as normal matter, it's never been experimentally verified because no one's ever had enough antimatter, moving slowly enough, to measure the force of gravity on it. This sounds like it might be a big step towards performing this experiment [duke.edu] .

If it did have negative gravitic mass, that would have all kinds of funky consequences. Maybe we could stabilize wormholes, and get faster-than-light travel and time travel. Fun to think about, anyway.

anti-matter galaxies in our universe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3046282)

possible?

Does anyone have a real link? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3046287)

suggesting that the charged antiparticles had bound together into neutral antihydrogen atoms.
I'm sorry, how do two things of the same polarity bind together to form neutral polarity?

He can't be sure how many atoms they trapped, but says you would get only a tiny amount of energy by combining the antimatter with matter--not even enough to warm a small cup of coffee.
How many football fields is that?

[Expl: I don't really care so much whether you give me me metric or english units, but by god, give me something!. Okay, in this case I'll go for units in terms of "hundredths of a warp drive." Sigh.]

P.S.
Antimatter atoms, among the most elusive matter in the Universe, has been captured for the first time.
Am I the only one who thought that this was so ungrammatical it couldn't possibly have been proof-read once?

Anonymous J. Coward
Professor of Entymology [sic]
University of Timbuktoo

How much do you wanna bet....... (5, Funny)

Y-Crate (540566) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046292)

......one of the first things some scientist did after they managed to do capture the stuff was suddenly yell "Antimatter containment is failing! We're gonna have to eject the core!!!!!!!!" before falling to the floor laughing hysterically?

You know there has to be someone, somewhere who is just dying to be the first person to say that.

neutral antiatoms (1)

ndevice (304743) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046293)

As far as I understand, positrons and probably anti-ions would be affected by an electric/magnetic field and therefore can be controlled somewhat.

An anti-hydrogen would be a neutral antiatom, and the only way you could move it would be if you were to physically push it somewhere. The problem now might be that after you create the stuff you can't move it around anymore without an explosion.

And ever try keeping hydrogen in a jar? It doesn't want to stay in a jar for very long. I'm thinking that anti-hydrogen would behave in the same way, and once it gets out, normal atmosphere has normal hydrogen all over the place.

Of course the guys at CERN will be smarter than I am here, so they probably have some way out of this problem, but they haven't mentioned it in the new scientist article.

Re:neutral antiatoms (1)

hygieia (560369) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046384)

Although neutral anti-atoms do not have an electric charge, the electric charge of the antiproten and the positron 'circling' around it is not evenly distributed. It is still not affected by an electric field, but it may be deflected or contained by a magnetic field.

Also look at the home page of theATRAP [harvard.edu] experiment.

Typical Slashdot editor, not reading the story. (2)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046297)

  • How cool is that?

It's lukewarm. Didn't you read the article?

  • "He can't be sure how many atoms they trapped, but says you would get only a tiny amount of energy by combining the antimatter with matter--not even enough to warm a small cup of coffee."

Seriously though, we're never going to power a warp drive with that. And let's face it, that's what we really care about, right? So we can all become starship engineers, get neat uniforms, and boldy go and score with hot alien chicks.

This is cool.....well hot but whose counting.... (2)

CDWert (450988) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046298)

Alright AM freaks, I must admit this is one of the cooles things Ive read on Slashdot in a long time. Certainly one of the most important happenings in the particle physics world for a while IMHO.

Now, unfortunatley they said they dont even have enough to warm a cup of coffee, How long before weapons research in the US grbs ahold of this ? Or have they already.

To me this is akin to the first sussefull refinment of weapons grade Plutonium and Uranium.
Unfortunatley at the moment it requires too much enery to be usefull as an energy storage medium, but could be really cool for Interstellar travel,

NOW My question, Will Anti-Hydrogen react with say Normal Lithium to create energy or will its positron shell react with at a minimum the elecrton shell of the Lithium ?

If it dosent , storage should be easier than the trap they are now using,

Underwritten by Mr. Coffee? (2)

dinotrac (18304) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046300)

OK. I want somebody to explain just why these guys are figuring out how much anti-matter it takes to heat a cup of coffee.

Make nuclear proliferation seem like peanuts if the next Mr. Coffee can start a chain reaction that ends the universe.

With or without cream.

Not a real news (0)

rocksh (526068) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046303)

1996 ...ANTIHYDROGEN ATOMS HAVE BEEN CREATED at CERN: www.aip.org/enews/physnews/1996/split/pnu253-1.htm

In related news... (5, Funny)

dasmegabyte (267018) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046310)

the universe has brought suit against the estate of Albert Einstein, claiming that fission is illegal under the DMCA, and that fair use of elementary particles applies only to cold fusion.

Slashdot = Slapstick (1)

Luminair (515136) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046314)

It says a lot about the readers of a site that posts something like this, and all the most popular posts are slapstick humor about ATOMS.

Maybe Slashdot shouldn't be posting such complicated articles for a bunch of people that don't know Protons from Positrons

And it's a trend, too.

heres the funny! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3046386)

Why did the monkey fall out of the tree?

It was dead.

Why did the parrot fall out of the tree?

It was stapled to the monkey.

First step. (2)

Restil (31903) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046344)

Trapping and storing animatter is the first necessary step for utilizing it as an energy source. It wouldn't make much sense to use it planetside as it takes more energy to generate it than it would provide for us, but for space vehicles it would be invaluable.

-Restil

Some thoughts (4, Interesting)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046350)

First, the method they are using to create the antiparticles is rather inefficient...I believe the proportion of energy expended vs energy stored in antiparticles is something on the order of 10^4.

A far more efficient method involves concentrating an intense pulse of light into a small enough space, to the point that the energy actually becomes matter. This has been demonstrated.

With efficient free electron lasers, it may be possible to mass produce antimatter on a large scale in this manner, making possible a greater number of experiments, as well as allowing manned interplanetary expeditions (and in theory interstellar).

Antimatter would make an excellent weapon in addition, since one would have the equivalent of a nuke that could be used on very small scales. You could in theory use it to make, say, antitank bullets that could be fired from a handheld gun. No heavy isotope decay products would be left to contaminate the battlefield, thus avoiding the nastiest side effect of nuclear bombs.

The big problem with antimatter annihilation, however, is that the energy released comes out in the form of high energy gamma rays. While the energy is there, it is difficult to harness in a practical device, and in the weapon example the gamma rays might irradiate everyone on the battlefield including the wielder of the weapon while doing little actual damage to the tank.

Finally, doing large scale chemistry experiments using antimatter versions of the elements could be rather dangerous...you'd probably need a kilo or more of the stuff, which would have rather catastrohpic results if it were allowed to interact with normal matter.

Let's hope these guys have a clue! (2)

Medievalist (16032) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046357)

From the article:
"It's hard to see how you could avoid having some antihydrogen in there," says Gabrielse. He can't be sure how many atoms they trapped, but says you would get only a tiny amount of energy by combining the antimatter with matter--not even enough to warm a small cup of coffee.

From Sir Ernest Rutherford's speech to the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1933:
The energy produced by the breaking down of the atom is a very poor kind of thing. Anyone who expects a source of power from the transformation of these atoms is talking moonshine.

Do they have an UPS on that particle trap?
--Charlie

Imagine, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3046358)

a beowulf cluster of anti hydrogens. Or even funnier These [goatse.cx]

but how... (1)

TheBoquaz (530526) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046363)

I'm curious how they are trapping these neutral particles.

Once they form atoms, shouldn't they not be as easy to trap using magnetic fields?

Does anyonw know how they do this?

Ok... (2)

xercist (161422) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046364)

So you can use a magnetic field to trap positrons and/or antiprotons, because they have a charge, but when they form antihydrogen they become neutral. How, exactly, do you store a neutral molecule of antimatter? My understanding is the pennig trap doesn't work this way.

Assembled not 'Created' (1)

Cy Guy (56083) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046368)

The write-up says that team 'created' the antimatter atoms. I wouldn't use the term 'created' too lightly when discussing particle physics. To me 'creating' matter implies they at a minimum converted energy to matter, or to take the term very literally - devised their own mini-Big Bang.

What they really did was assemble them from anti-electrons and anti-protons

.

How cool is that? (5, Funny)

TheGreenLantern (537864) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046379)

Pretty damn cool, until bearded, evil versions of ourselves start popping up all over the place.

Not to be redundant.... (1)

jsimon12 (207119) | more than 12 years ago | (#3046383)

But cool, first we get transparent aluminum, then we get proper antimatter, whats next? warp drive right?

Dr. Cochran's Warp Drive: Matter-Antimatter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3046390)

Within 1 decade, we will achieve warp drive.
It is based on matter recombining with antimatter,
giving the thrust that is necessary for
intergalactic propulsion. We shall boldly
go where no man has gone before, just like
Dr. Zephram Cochran says.

Eye for an ant eye... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3046398)

Poor ants! How could they? I bet this is going to anger those animal rights activists...

Let the flames begin!
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