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Old 2010-05-19, 03:31   #1
cheesehead
 
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Default The Toe of God?

This could be BIG:

"A New Clue to Explain Existence"

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/18/sc...e&ref=homepage

Quote:
Physicists at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory are reporting that they have discovered a new clue that could help unravel one of the biggest mysteries of cosmology: why the universe is composed of matter and not its evil-twin opposite, antimatter. If confirmed, the finding portends fundamental discoveries at the new Large Hadron Collider outside Geneva, as well as a possible explanation for our own existence.

In a mathematically perfect universe, we would be less than dead; we would never have existed. According to the basic precepts of Einsteinian relativity and quantum mechanics, equal amounts of matter and antimatter should have been created in the Big Bang and then immediately annihilated each other in a blaze of lethal energy, leaving a big fat goose egg with which to make stars, galaxies and us. And yet we exist, and physicists (among others) would dearly like to know why.

Sifting data from collisions of protons and antiprotons at Fermilab’s Tevatron, which until last winter was the most powerful particle accelerator in the world, the team, known as the DZero collaboration, found that the fireballs produced pairs of the particles known as muons, which are sort of fat electrons, slightly more often than they produced pairs of anti-muons. So the miniature universe inside the accelerator went from being neutral to being about 1 percent more matter than antimatter.

. . .

The new effect hinges on the behavior of particularly strange particles called neutral B-mesons, which are famous for not being able to make up their minds. They oscillate back and forth trillions of times a second between their regular state and their antimatter state. As it happens, the mesons, created in the proton-antiproton collisions, seem to go from their antimatter state to their matter state more rapidly than they go the other way around, leading to an eventual preponderance of matter over antimatter of about 1 percent, when they decay to muons.

. . .

Joe Lykken, a theorist at Fermilab, said, “So I would not say that this announcement is the equivalent of seeing the face of God, but it might turn out to be the toe of God.”
... bigger than Taweret's toes. (http://lostpedia.wikia.com/wiki/Statue_of_Taweret)

Here's the PDF (with co-authors from 81 different institutions):

http://www-d0.fnal.gov/Run2Physics/W.../B10A/B10A.pdf

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2010-05-19 at 03:39 Reason: PDF
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Old 2010-05-22, 23:17   #2
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If this could be controlled and caused to occur in the opposite direction(more antimatter than matter) it could solve our energy problems rather quickly.

I'm guessing I'm not the first person to realize this. :)
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Old 2010-05-23, 00:52   #3
mdettweiler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasong View Post
If this could be controlled and caused to occur in the opposite direction(more antimatter than matter) it could solve our energy problems rather quickly.

I'm guessing I'm not the first person to realize this. :)
Pardon me if I'm making some exceedingly stupid oversight here, but as I recall the main problem with harnessing antimatter is not so much in making it, but in storing it. As it is now, pretty much as soon as any antimatter is created in the laboratory, it goes kablooey within an extremely brief amount of time as it runs into the nearest particle of positive matter.
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Old 2010-05-23, 03:01   #4
ATH
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdettweiler View Post
Pardon me if I'm making some exceedingly stupid oversight here, but as I recall the main problem with harnessing antimatter is not so much in making it, but in storing it. As it is now, pretty much as soon as any antimatter is created in the laboratory, it goes kablooey within an extremely brief amount of time as it runs into the nearest particle of positive matter.
We just need to make a portable container with magnetic field and battery to power it. But we need to avoid crazy priests stealing it and taking it to the vatican

Last fiddled with by ATH on 2010-05-23 at 03:01
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Old 2010-05-23, 04:03   #5
retina
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Ya canna break the laws of physics, captain!
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Old 2010-05-23, 08:59   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdettweiler View Post
Pardon me if I'm making some exceedingly stupid oversight here, but as I recall the main problem with harnessing antimatter is not so much in making it, but in storing it. As it is now, pretty much as soon as any antimatter is created in the laboratory, it goes kablooey within an extremely brief amount of time as it runs into the nearest particle of positive matter.
Not true. Small amounts of antimatter have been stored for months at a time. Google "Penning trap" for more detail.

A more difficult engineering problem, but not obviously too difficult, is to design a container for a large amount of antimatter without excessive losses to annihilation.

Paul
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Old 2010-05-23, 10:34   #7
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Default a canticle or perhaps Hari Seldon

In addition to the known methods using radio-frequency and electrical/magnetic fields for confinement, perhaps something new will surface.
The possibility of using the Casimir force repulsively seems to have been developed.
http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2010/casimir-0511.html

This seems like the worst possible approach (pun intended), but one never knows, does one?
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Old 2010-05-23, 13:00   #8
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Default Conservation of Energy

What is the response to the obvious argument that it
will take at least as much energy to produce the antimatter
as can be retrieved when it annihilates?

Ditto hydrogen fuel.

David
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Old 2010-05-23, 13:10   #9
retina
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Default Transportation of energy

Quote:
Originally Posted by davieddy View Post
What is the response to the obvious argument that it
will take at least as much energy to produce the antimatter
as can be retrieved when it annihilates?

Ditto hydrogen fuel.
It is not about conservation of energy, it is about transportation of energy. You make the stuff in some place where there is abundant spare energy and send it to another place where you want to use the energy. I would expect that anti-matter would be very weight efficient as long as the container holding it was not too burdensome.
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Old 2010-05-23, 13:44   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retina View Post
I would expect that anti-matter would be very weight efficient as long as the container holding it was not too burdensome.
Then just harness the gamma rays and you're laughing!
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Old 2010-05-23, 15:37   #11
mdettweiler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xilman View Post
Not true. Small amounts of antimatter have been stored for months at a time. Google "Penning trap" for more detail.

A more difficult engineering problem, but not obviously too difficult, is to design a container for a large amount of antimatter without excessive losses to annihilation.

Paul
Hmm...I learn something new every day. That's quite interesting--thanks for the pointer!
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