Physics & Astronomy News

Planet-forming Lifeline Discovered in a Binary Star System
Scientists have detected a streamer of dust and gas flowing from a massive outer disk toward the inner reaches of a binary star system.

Supersonic Laser-Propelled Rockets
New hybrid approach may help power rockets, launch satellites, enable future aircraft to exceed Mach 10.

Physicists Closer to Understanding Balance of Matter, Antimatter
Physicists at Syracuse University have made important discoveries regarding Bs meson particles—something that may explain why the universe contains more matter than antimatter.

POLARBEAR Detects Curls in the Universe’s Oldest Light
Cosmologists have made the most sensitive and precise measurements yet of the polarization of the cosmic microwave background.

Do we live in a 2-D hologram?
A unique experiment at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory called the Holometer has started collecting data that will answer some mind-bending questions about our universe – including whether we live in a hologram.

more physics & astronomy news stories

Antimatter Discovery

by Anton Skorucak and ScienceIQ.com

This original 1930 cloud-chamber photograph by Carl Anderson shows the track of a positively charged particle (thin track curving to the left) of electronic mass slowed down by passing upward through a lead plate (horizontal thick line).
This original 1930 cloud-chamber photograph by Carl Anderson shows the track of a positively charged particle (thin track curving to the left) of electronic mass slowed down by passing upward through a lead plate (horizontal thick line).
Image Copyright © Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory
In almost every science fiction movie ever made, you are bound to hear about antimatter –– matter-antimatter propulsion drives, whole galaxies made of antimatter, and so on. Antimatter has been used in science fiction so much that some of us are not even sure if it is real or just imaginary. Here's a hint: antimatter is real and it was discovered a long time ago.

It all started with Paul Dirac, a British physicist, who in 1930 devised the first relativistic theory of the electron. Quantum mechanics had been worked out a couple of years earlier (by Dirac and by Heisenberg, independently), but Dirac’s 1930 theory contained math that exactly modeled electron behavior, both from the quantum mechanical and from the relativistic point of view (electrons moving at close to light speeds). His theory also predicted the existence of an anti-electron; a particle just like an electron, with the same mass but opposite charge (i.e. positive) and opposite magnetic momentum. If you fire such a particle into a magnetic field which is perpendicular to the particle’s trajectory, its path would curve opposite to that of an electron.

In 1932, Carl Anderson, a US physicist, while examining tracks of particles produced by cosmic rays, noticed one track whose curvature was identical to that of an electron but was flipped. Instead of curving to the right, it curved to the left. He named this positively charged electron a positron, the first antimatter particle discovered. Many anti-particles have been discovered since. The anti-proton was discovered in 1955 by E. Segre and his coworkers at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory using a high-energy particle accelerator. Most other anti-particles have been discovered at particle accelerators under carefully designed conditions. Many experimental groups have also reported constructing bigger entities than just anti-particles. In fact, whole anti-nuclei have been constructed, for example anti-hydrogen nuclei and an isotope of anti-helium.

Search

Loading






Science Quote

'I beseech you to take interest in these sacred domains so expressively called laboratories. Ask that there be more and that they be adorned for these are the temples of the future, wealth and well-being. It is here that humanity will grow, strengthen and improve. Here, humanity will learn to read progress and individual harmony in the works of nature, while humanity's own works are all too often those of barbarism, fanaticism and destruction.'

Louis Pasteur
(1822-1895)
Science Sidebar | Science Education Articles
Cool Summer Science Projects

Why not make science a part of your family’s summer? Perhaps you can set aside one day a week for outdoor projects—maybe Mad Scientist Monday or Scientific Saturday? Here are a few ideas to help get you started. Continue reading ...

10 Ways to Keep Your Kids Interested In Science

Young children are natural scientists: they ask questions, pick up sticks and bugs outside, and are curious about the world around them. But as they get a bit older, many kids gradually lose their interest in science. They might see it as just another task at school, something that doesn't apply to their lives. Of course nothing could be further from the truth, so here are ten ways you can remind your kids that science is everywhere. Most of these are fun for adults, too! Continue reading ...

Top Selling

Here are our physics & astronomy bestsellers:
Magnetic Levitator - Classic
3D Magnetic Field Tube
KonusScience 5 Way Microscope Kit
Periscope
Revolving Multi-Color Fiberoptic Light
Tin Can Robot 4M Kit
Potato Clock 4M Kit
Mini Plasma Ball
Clean Water Science 4M Kit
Solar Radiometer

Sponsors

USC University of Southern California Dornsife College Physics and Astronomy Department McMaster University Physics and Astronomy Department