Matter/anti-matter disparity found at Fermilab

Seen something interesting in the news or on the intertubes? Discuss it here.

Moderators: Zamfir, Hawknc, Moderators General, Prelates

User avatar
scikidus
Posts: 792
Joined: Wed Nov 26, 2008 9:34 pm UTC
Location: New York, NY
Contact:

Matter/anti-matter disparity found at Fermilab

Postby scikidus » Tue May 18, 2010 11:40 am UTC

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/18/scien ... osmos.html

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 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.

“This result may provide an important input for explaining the matter dominance in our universe,” Guennadi Borissov, a co-leader of the study from Lancaster University, in England, said in a talk Friday at Fermilab, in Batavia, Ill. Over the weekend, word spread quickly among physicists. Maria Spiropulu of CERN and the California Institute of Technology called the results “very impressive and inexplicable.”

The results have now been posted on the Internet and submitted to the Physical Review.

It was Andrei Sakharov, the Russian dissident and physicist, who first provided a recipe for how matter could prevail over antimatter in the early universe. Among his conditions was that there be a slight difference in the properties of particles and antiparticles known technically as CP violation. In effect, when the charges and spins of particles are reversed, they should behave slightly differently. Over the years, physicists have discovered a few examples of CP violation in rare reactions between subatomic particles that tilt slightly in favor of matter over antimatter, but “not enough to explain our existence,” in the words of Gustaaf Brooijmans of Columbia, who is a member of the DZero team.

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.

Whether this is enough to explain our existence is a question that cannot be answered until the cause of the still-mysterious behavior of the B-mesons is directly observed, said Dr. Brooijmans, who called the situation “fairly encouraging.”

The observed preponderance is about 50 times what is predicted by the Standard Model, the suite of theories that has ruled particle physics for a generation, meaning that whatever is causing the B-meson to act this way is “new physics” that physicists have been yearning for almost as long.

Dr. Brooijmans said that the most likely explanations were some new particle not predicted by the Standard Model or some new kind of interaction between particles. Luckily, he said, “this is something we should be able to poke at with the Large Hadron Collider.”

Neal Weiner of New York University said, “If this holds up, the L.H.C. is going to be producing some fantastic results.”

Nevertheless, physicists will be holding their breath until the results are confirmed by other experiments.

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.”


Can the ACLU step in on the anti-matter's behalf?
"Help annihilate the oppression of anti-matter today!"
Happy hollandaise!

"The universe is a figment of its own imagination" -Douglas Adams

User avatar
Indon
Posts: 4433
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 5:21 pm UTC
Location: Alabama :(
Contact:

Re: Matter/anti-matter disparity found at Fermilab

Postby Indon » Tue May 18, 2010 12:51 pm UTC

ITT: Science duplicates creation ex nihilo. You better watch out, God, we're catching up!
So, I like talking. So if you want to talk about something with me, feel free to send me a PM.

My blog, now rarely updated.

Image

User avatar
Endless Mike
Posts: 3204
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2007 3:04 pm UTC

Re: Matter/anti-matter disparity found at Fermilab

Postby Endless Mike » Tue May 18, 2010 1:08 pm UTC

It's because all the anti-matter formed Earth-3 in the anti-matter universe, duh. :roll:

User avatar
Sockmonkey
Posts: 1214
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2008 11:30 pm UTC

Re: Matter/anti-matter disparity found at Fermilab

Postby Sockmonkey » Tue May 18, 2010 2:46 pm UTC

No, no, It's because God hates antimatter can't you see?

User avatar
Elvish Pillager
Posts: 1009
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2008 9:58 pm UTC
Location: Everywhere you think, nowhere you can possibly imagine.
Contact:

Re: Matter/anti-matter disparity found at Fermilab

Postby Elvish Pillager » Tue May 18, 2010 2:54 pm UTC

But would you get the same result in an identical particle accelerator... MADE OUT OF ANTIMATTER? :o
Also known as Eli Dupree. Check out elidupree.com for my comics, games, and other work.

GENERATION A(g64, g64): Social experiment. Take the busy beaver function of the generation number and add it to your signature.

User avatar
JayAr
Posts: 152
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 8:26 pm UTC

Re: Matter/anti-matter disparity found at Fermilab

Postby JayAr » Tue May 18, 2010 6:26 pm UTC

Elvish Pillager wrote:But would you get the same result in an identical particle accelerator... MADE OUT OF ANTIMATTER? :o


Yes.
nyeguy wrote:Bacon isn't a sin. It clogs your arteries and brings you to god faster.


I actually truly failed the Turing Test

Spambot5546
Posts: 1466
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:34 pm UTC

Re: Matter/anti-matter disparity found at Fermilab

Postby Spambot5546 » Tue May 18, 2010 6:32 pm UTC

I find the whole thing offensive, personally. Just because it's the opposite of our matter we assume it's antimatter! We're just as anti to it as it is to us! Maybe WE are the anti-matter and it is matter! Ever think about that with your precious science! It's time to protest! It's time to right this prejudice!

I propose the Million anti-atom march
"It is bitter – bitter", he answered,
"But I like it
Because it is bitter,
And because it is my heart."

User avatar
Dasboard
Posts: 961
Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 6:09 pm UTC
Location: I wish I was dreaming of soap.... wait where was this space for again?

Re: Matter/anti-matter disparity found at Fermilab

Postby Dasboard » Tue May 18, 2010 6:33 pm UTC

That is a very funy perspective. I'm in!

I'll now start shouting racist at anyone who's talking about matter or antimatter.
Are you ready? Well I made my bet
Are you ready? I made some.. preparations.
Are you ready? But I'm older now!
But are you ready? Yeah...

User avatar
Vaniver
Posts: 9422
Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2006 2:12 am UTC

Re: Matter/anti-matter disparity found at Fermilab

Postby Vaniver » Tue May 18, 2010 7:17 pm UTC

Is this new? I thought we already knew about this years ago- so this is probably confirmation of something everybody thought was true, or some obscure technical detail which doesn't really impact the basics of the science.
I mostly post over at LessWrong now.

Avatar from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, owned by Hasbro.

User avatar
Ixtellor
There are like 4 posters on XKCD that no more about ...
Posts: 3113
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2008 3:31 pm UTC

Re: Matter/anti-matter disparity found at Fermilab

Postby Ixtellor » Tue May 18, 2010 7:37 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:Is this new? I thought we already knew about this years ago- so this is probably confirmation of something everybody thought was true, or some obscure technical detail which doesn't really impact the basics of the science.


I think its like: We always knew we could not levitate, and now we know its because of gravity.

We know matter outnumbers anti-matter, and now they know why... ?
The Revolution will not be Twitterized.

User avatar
SecondTalon
SexyTalon
Posts: 26519
Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 2:10 pm UTC
Location: Louisville, Kentucky, USA, Mars. HA!
Contact:

Re: Matter/anti-matter disparity found at Fermilab

Postby SecondTalon » Tue May 18, 2010 8:13 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:
Vaniver wrote:Is this new? I thought we already knew about this years ago- so this is probably confirmation of something everybody thought was true, or some obscure technical detail which doesn't really impact the basics of the science.
I think its like: We always knew we could not levitate, and now we know its because of gravity.
We know matter outnumbers anti-matter, and now they know why... ?
It's.. closer to "We know we cannot levitate. A few years back, some guy theorized it was because of this Gravity thing, and was able to demonstrate that atoms and particles did in fact seem to pull together due to their mass. We've now been able to determine that it's because of the denser mass of the neutron that blah blah quarks and other wacky crap Talon doesn't understand, I don't know a wizard did it, I guess."

It's more of a confirmation on the 1% matter over antimater creation rate of B-mesons than anything.
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

Soralin
Posts: 1347
Joined: Wed May 07, 2008 12:06 am UTC

Re: Matter/anti-matter disparity found at Fermilab

Postby Soralin » Tue May 18, 2010 11:30 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:Is this new? I thought we already knew about this years ago- so this is probably confirmation of something everybody thought was true, or some obscure technical detail which doesn't really impact the basics of the science.

Well they had already found CP violation with kaons, I think a major part of the story is that the effect is much larger with B mesons, and much larger then was predicted: "The observed preponderance is about 50 times what is predicted by the Standard Model"


Return to “News & Articles”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: CorruptUser and 10 guests