AntiMatter Essay Research Paper Sean Patrick Patrick

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Anti-Matter Essay, Research Paper Sean Patrick Patrick 1 Chem. Study pr. 2 6/13/99 Chemicals in the media Anti-Matter As research continues into the field of anti-matter there might be some very interesting and practical uses of anti-matter in the society of the future. Until there is a practical use, this is merely an attempt to prove which research lab will be the first to manufacture the anti-matter elements. Ordinary matter has negatively charged electrons circling a positively charged nuclei. Anti-matter has positively charged electrons – positrons – orbiting a nuclei with a negative charge – anti-protons. Only anti-protons and positrons are able to be produced at this time, but scientists in Switzerland have begun a series of experiments which they believe will

lead to the creation of the first anti-matter element — Anti- Hydrogen. Early scientists often made two mistakes about anti-matter. Some thought it had a negative mass, and would thus feel gravity as a push rather than a pull. If this were so, the antiproton’s negative mass/energy would cancel the proton’s when they met and nothing would remain; in reality, two extremely high-energy gamma photons are produced. Today’s theories of the universe say that there is no such thing as a negative mass. The second and more subtle mistake is the idea that anti-water would only annihilate with ordinary water, and could safety be kept in (say) an iron container. This is not so: it is the subatomic particles that react so destructively, and their arrangement makes no difference.

Scientists at CERN in Geneva are working on a device called the LEAR (low energy anti-proton ring) in an attempt to slow the velocity of the anti-protons to a billionth of their normal speeds. The slowing of the anti-protons and positrons, which normally travel at a velocity of that near the speed of light, is neccesary so that they have a chance of meeting and combining into anti-hydrogen. The problems with research in the field of anti-matter is that when the anti-matter elements touch matter elements they annihilate each other. The total combined mass of both elements are released in a spectacular blast of energy. Electrons and positrons come together and vanish into high-energy gamma rays (plus a certain number of harmless neutrinos, which pass through whole planets without

effect). Hitting ordinary matter, 1 kg of anti-matter explodes with the force of up to 43 million tons of TNT – as though several thousand Hiroshima bombs were detonated at once. Patrick 2 So how can anti-matter be stored? Space seems the only place, both for storage and for large-scale production. On Earth, gravity will sooner or later pull any anti-matter into disastrous contact with matter. Anti-matter has the opposite effect of gravity on it, the anti-matter is pushed away’ by the gravitational force due to its opposite nature to that of matter. A way around the gravity problem appears at CERN, where fast moving anti-protons can be held in a ’storage ring’ around which they constantly move – and kept away from the walls of the vacuum chamber – by magnetic fields.

However, this only works for charged particles, it does not work for anti-neutrons, for example. Though anti-matter can be manufactured, slowly, natural anti-matter has never been found. In theory, we should expect equal amounts of matter and anti-matter to be formed at the beginning of the universe – perhaps some far off galaxies are the made of anti-matter that somehow became separated from matter long ago. A problem with the theory is that cosmic rays that reach Earth from far-off parts are often made up of protons or even nuclei, never of anti-protons or antinuclei. There may be no natural anti-matter anywhere. In that case, what happened to it? The most obvious answer is that, as predicted by theory, all the matter and anti-matter underwent mutual annihilation in the first