In 1928, British physicist Paul Dirac wrote down a revolutionary equation to describe the behaviour of an electron moving at a relativistic speed.
The equation – which won Dirac the Nobel prize in 1933 – posed a really big problem: just as the equation x^2= 4 can have two possible solutions (x=2 or x=-2), so Dirac's equation could have two solutions, one for an electron with positive energy, and one for an electron with negative energy !!!!
Dirac interpreted the equation to mean that for every particle there exists a corresponding antiparticle, exactly matching the particle but with opposite charge. For the electron there should be an "antielectron", for example, identical in every way but with a positive electric charge.
This insight opened for the first time the possibility of entire galaxies and universes made of antimatter!!
But when matter and antimatter come into contact, they annihilate – disappearing in a flash of energy. The Big Bang should have created equal amounts of matter and antimatter. So why is there far more matter than antimatter in the universe?
This mystery of how matter "won" over antimatter may be finally revealed at CERN in the ELENA ring, a brand new decellerator able to produce every day hundreds of antiprotons which CERN scientists will "trap" to study their proprierties.
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