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Thread: Antimatter!

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    According to a story in the Witchita Eagle, Antimatter has been contained long enough for meaningful study to take place.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chilingsworth View Post
    Wow! Not only was that awesome, I think I actually kinda understand Archeron now. If all the "intermediate" outer planes got that kind of treatment, I doubt there would be anywhere near as many critics of their utility.
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    Woo!

    ...right?
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    Default Re: Antimatter!

    Meaningful study meaning what particularly?

    And how much antimatter of what sorts are we talking? A handful of positrons, or a teeny mass of anti-atoms?
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    Quote Originally Posted by golentan View Post
    Meaningful study meaning what particularly?

    And how much antimatter of what sorts are we talking? A handful of positrons, or a teeny mass of anti-atoms?
    Full blown anti-hydrogen; specifics were not given in the Eagle's article.


    Quote Originally Posted by Chilingsworth View Post
    Wow! Not only was that awesome, I think I actually kinda understand Archeron now. If all the "intermediate" outer planes got that kind of treatment, I doubt there would be anywhere near as many critics of their utility.
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    Default Re: Antimatter!

    The article I read suggested a grand total of 38 atoms of anti-matter were involved, and they weren't all contained at the same time--so I'd stop dreaming about the Enterprise's warp core for the moment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    The article I read suggested a grand total of 38 atoms of anti-matter were involved, and they weren't all contained at the same time--so I'd stop dreaming about the Enterprise's warp core for the moment.
    Hey, I can wait. I'm young with my entire life ahead of me. I'll dream of empires amongst the stars in worlds undreamt of if I wanna :p


    Quote Originally Posted by Chilingsworth View Post
    Wow! Not only was that awesome, I think I actually kinda understand Archeron now. If all the "intermediate" outer planes got that kind of treatment, I doubt there would be anywhere near as many critics of their utility.
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    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    The article I read suggested a grand total of 38 atoms of anti-matter were involved, and they weren't all contained at the same time--so I'd stop dreaming about the Enterprise's warp core for the moment.
    But but... to boldly go...


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    Yeah, it's a little too early to invest in warp core futures, but it's a cool accomplishment.

    The thing that makes this experiment unique isn't just that they created antimatter -- that's totally routine these days; positrons and antiprotons are easy to create in any decent particle accelerator.

    What they did that's not easy was to get the antiprotons and positrons moving slowly enough relative to one another, so that the positron could be captured by the antiproton, and together they could form an antimatter hydrogen atom.

    However, even that had been done before. What had never been done was keeping an antihydrogen atom suspended and isolated from normal matter (which would annihilate it on contact), for long enough to study it in more detail.

    So here's to being 38 antihydrogen atoms closer to Star Trek!
    Last edited by mucat; 2010-11-20 at 06:35 AM.

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    I'm still holding out hope that the CERN will rip open a portal to other planes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Moreta View Post
    But but... to boldly go...
    That split infinitive has been making me crying for years...

    Quote Originally Posted by MasamuneSSX View Post
    I'm still holding out hope that the CERN will rip open a portal to other planes.
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    Last edited by Brother Oni; 2010-11-20 at 08:32 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lord_Gareth View Post
    According to a story in the Witchita Eagle, Antimatter has been contained long enough for meaningful study to take place.

    YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    That split infinitive has been making me crying for years...
    It's worth remembering that there isn't necessarily anything inherently wrong about splitting infinitives:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Split_infinitive
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lord_Gareth View Post
    Hey, I can wait. I'm young with my entire life ahead of me. I'll dream of empires amongst the stars in worlds undreamt of if I wanna :p
    Lol, dream all you want, you know as well as I do the first thing people are going to do once we can make stable antimatter is make a freaking huge bomb out of it.
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    Probably true, unfortunately.

    But for now - a really amazing discovery! Very exciting news, all in all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marnath View Post
    Lol, dream all you want, you know as well as I do the first thing people are going to do once we can make stable antimatter is make a freaking huge bomb out of it.
    Unwise even by the standards of our admittedly crazy species. While the bomb was sitting in your arsenal, you would have to be continually pumping energy into whatever field was holding it stable...and if at any point this system fails, the thing goes off in your face. (Which does not mean that the research they're doing now is dangerous; individual atoms of antimatter don't do a hell of a lot of damage when they annihilate.)

    And y'know, as I write this, I'm struck by the corollary...there would be no point in building such a weapon, unless you had plans to use it right away. Ah, well, so much for optimism...

    (For what it's worth, though, there's no technology even on the horizon right now that would make it possible to stabilize enough antimatter to act as a weapon. I would worry a lot more about the destruction we're already capable of...)
    Last edited by mucat; 2010-11-20 at 11:40 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mucat View Post
    (For what it's worth, though, there's no technology even on the horizon right now that would make it possible to stabilize enough antimatter to act as a weapon. I would worry a lot more about the destruction we're already capable of...)
    Yeah, we're already able to blow the earth up totally and completely, whats the point of making even bigger bombs? It's not like anyone who doesn't fear/respect nuclear warheads would respect antimatter bombs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dada View Post
    Yeah, we're already able to blow the earth up totally and completely, whats the point of making even bigger bombs?
    Blow up the ecosystem completely, yes.

    Blow up the Earth completely- definitely not. All the bombs, detonated simultaneously, would produce far less energy than the gravitational binding energy of the Earth.
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    Blow up, as in destroy human civilization completely
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    It's been a while since I looked up the nuclear winter theories- so I don't know how much radiation release and drift would be produced in a full-blown present-day exchange,

    nor whether that much radiation and dust would cause civilization across the globe to go into a dark age, or whether only the northern hemisphere would suffer, with southern hemisphere civilization surviving.

    Maybe someone who specializes in this would know.

    (This question is supposed to be entirely physics, biology, and ecology-based, of course).
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    Quote Originally Posted by mucat View Post
    And y'know, as I write this, I'm struck by the corollary...there would be no point in building such a weapon, unless you had plans to use it right away. Ah, well, so much for optimism...
    While you make a sound point, one that is surely based in logic, I can't help but feel that the people who approve construction of the weapons probably do not feel the same way. After all, America had the atom bomb first, which was plenty destructive, and then along came the hydrogen bomb, of which America then built plenty, and we've still continued to build new bombs, none of which are cheap to maintain. Your logic is sound, but there is a strong philosophical predisposition in America to stockpile weapons, in the hopes that they will never be used, and damn the cost. I'd be quite surprised if antimatter based weapons turned out to be the sole exception.
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    Default Re: Antimatter!

    My understanding goes like this:

    The anti-electron is called a positron. Physicists are generally logical people, and it would only be logical to call the anti-proton a negatron. Which seems an awful lot like pro-deceptacon propaganda to me. Scientists really are trying to ruin the world I GUESS.


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    Stupid antimatter, why do you have to make things so complicated?

    Out of curiocity, what's the anti-neutron? I know neutrons have no charge, but still...
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Randomizer View Post
    Stupid antimatter, why do you have to make things so complicated?

    Out of curiocity, what's the anti-neutron? I know neutrons have no charge, but still...
    The anti-neutron is the antineutron. The main thing is it's made of antiquarks instead of quarks, so it has an opposite Baryon number. (SO MEANINGFUL to the layman.)

    They also have opposite magnetic moments.


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    Quote Originally Posted by averagejoe View Post
    My understanding goes like this:

    The anti-electron is called a positron. Physicists are generally logical people, and it would only be logical to call the anti-proton a negatron. Which seems an awful lot like pro-deceptacon propaganda to me. Scientists really are trying to ruin the world I GUESS.
    Well, in our defense, the positron was the first type of antimatter to be detected and studied, back in the 1930s. Physicists then knew that positrons were the antimatter counterpart of electrons -- Dirac had predicted their existence, and people were actively looking for them in cosmic ray showers -- but the convention of naming things "anti-whatever" hadn't yet caught on. By the time the naming conventions were established, everyone was used to saying "positron", so they didn't go back and rename it the "anti-electron."

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    Hmmm... would anti matter devices be radio active? Would using them be dirty, or clean? Could they be environmentally friendly, and thusly freely useable?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kislath View Post
    Hmmm... would anti matter devices be radio active? Would using them be dirty, or clean? Could they be environmentally friendly, and thusly freely useable?
    I don't think that antimatter itself is radioactive (at least the types we've created so far - well, no more than normal hydrogen is) a problem is that, at least for electron-positron annihilation, the result is high energy photons (i.e. gamma rays). That's just the nature of the reaction. I don't know what the annihilation reaction of the heavier particles would give off.

    Edit - and looking through the Wikipedia pages on annihilation it seems that proton and neutron versions also give off gamma rays as well as the possibility of some light bosons (pions seem most prevalent) depending on the relative energy levels of the reactive particles.
    Last edited by WalkingTarget; 2010-11-20 at 03:01 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kislath View Post
    Hmmm... would anti matter devices be radio active? Would using them be dirty, or clean? Could they be environmentally friendly, and thusly freely useable?
    When antimatter and matter annihilate and release energy, they can be dangerous to people standing nearby -- gamma rays aren't good for you, as WalkingTarget said -- but they don't produce any sort of long-term pollution or contamination; all they give off is high-energy light. So you would need to put careful thought into how to keep the operator and bystanders safe, but you wouldn't be doing any ecological harm.

    Ecologically, the process of producing the antimatter itself is more of a problem...mainly because of the sheer amount of energy it takes to run a particle accelerator, not because of any specific form of waste it produces. So you wouldn't want to use antimatter as an everyday power storage device; you would be putting far more energy into running the accelerator that produces your antimatter than you would get out when the antimatter annihilates.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WalkingTarget View Post
    I don't think that antimatter itself is radioactive (at least the types we've created so far - well, no more than normal hydrogen is) a problem is that, at least for electron-positron annihilation, the result is high energy photons (i.e. gamma rays). That's just the nature of the reaction. I don't know what the annihilation reaction of the heavier particles would give off..
    Annihilation reactions themselves will always give off high-energy photons (gamma rays) as all the matter from the particles will be converted into energy. In the case of heavier antimatter atoms you would also get lower level energy from the binding energy of the nucleus.

    Edit: And yes, the heavier anti-matter atoms would be just as radioactive as their normal counterparts. In fact their chemistry should also be the same as should their physcal properties(*) apart from this distressing habit of annihilating whenever they touch normal matter.

    (*) It may be that anti-matter is slightly more unstable than normal matter, which is why our universe seems to have mostly the normal stuff (as far as we know, at any rate. The trouble is that at range we can't tell if a celestial body is antimatter or not).
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    I wasn't concerned with safety. I actually meant using them instead of conventional nuclear weapons. Could we blast an area to bits with no risk of fallout & lingering radiation contamination?

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    This is interesting and all, but when you look at it in the context of today's society, it's quite unimportant. One could even say it hardly matters.

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