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Antimatter - Essay Example

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Summary to essay on topic "Antimatter"
The mystery surrounding antimatter is due to the fact that scientists believe that when the universe began in a Big Bang it had equal amounts of both matter and antimatter, however, today all the antimatter has somehow seemed to have disappeared.
The history of antimatter begins with a young physicist named Paul Dirac and the strange implications of a mathematical equation, which combined quantum theory and special relativity (E=mc2), to describe the behavior of the electron…
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Download file "Antimatter" to see previous pages... For the electron, for instance, there should be an "antielectron" identical in every way but with a positive electric charge. In his Nobel Lecture, Dirac speculated on the existence of a completely new Universe made out of antimatter! (The History of antimatter, 2001)
In 1932 Carl Anderson, a young professor at the California Institute of Technology,
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while studying showers of cosmic particles in a cloud chamber discovered antielectron, He called the antielectron a "positron", for its positive charge. After almost 25 years in the year 1955, antiprotons were discovered followed by antineutrons in 1959.
In 1965, a unique machine at CERN (Conseil Europen pour la Recherche Nuclaire), a European organization for nuclear research called Low Energy Antiproton Ring (LEAR) was used to successfully produce antihydrogen atom, which is a real a real antimatter atom. The idea behind this is to trap these antihydrogen atoms by first slowing them down and then carry out accurate comparisons of properties of hydrogen and antihydrogen particles.
"Matter and antimatter are perfect opposites. So perfect, in fact, that when the meet they annihilate leaving behind a flash of pure energy. Nothing else remains; antimatter annihilation is the ultimate clean source of energy. It is the perfect conversion of mass (m) into energy (E) according to Einstein's famous prescription E= mc2, where c is the speed of light. The problem is, however, that antimatter cannot simply be harvested or mined. It has to be made, and making it requires vastly more energy than annihilating it produces. All the antimatter produced at CERN in a year would provide barely enough energy to power a light bulb for a few seconds." (Gordon Fraser)
Antimatter Applications
Antimatter may be the stuff of science fiction but at laboratories like CERN it is a commonplace tool for research. In hospitals and industry too, antimatter is in everyday use for diagnosis. Positron Emission Tomography, PET, for example relies on antimatter. It works by attaching radioactive atoms that emit positrons - anti-electrons - to biological tracer molecules that find their way to specific areas of the body. When the radioactive atoms decay the positrons they emit immediately annihilate with electrons and the resulting flash of energy appears in the form of two gamma-rays of equal energy. These escape from the body back-to-back and are detected, allowing doctors to follow what happens to the biological tracer molecules and thus learn valuable information about the workings of the body. (Antimatter Decelerator, 2008).

Negative and Positive sides of Antimatter
The 1980s US Strategic Defense Initiative program (better known as 'Star Wars') included several projects which looked at the possibility of using antimatter as rocket fuel or to drive space-borne weapons platforms. (Gordon Fraser)
Antimatter, converting all its mass into energy, is the ultimate fuel. However first the antimatter would have to be manufactured - there is no 'mine' of antimatter. (Gordon Fraser)
Antimatter is difficult to produce - all the antiprotons produced at CERN during one year would supply enough energy to light a 100 watt electric bulb for three seconds! (Gordon ...Download file "Antimatter" to see next pagesRead More
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