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Friday, April 26, 2013

Antimatter May Decay Faster Than Matter

The Big Bang Theory (or Theories) contend that at the instant of the big bang, equal amounts of matter and anti-matter were created. The question has always been, where did all that anti-matter go? If matter and anti-matter self annihilate, why is there any matter left at all? One possibility is that the big bang, for some reason, created slightly more matter than anti-matter. But scientists at the Large Hadron Collider have found evidence that anti-matter may decay faster than matter. From the Telegraph:
Physicists believe that a subtle difference in the way the two behave, however, meant that more antimatter was destroyed than matter.

The result was that enough matter was left once all the antimatter had vanished to make up the universe that now exists around us – an affect known as the CP Violation.

Scientists working on the LHCb detector at the Large Hadron Collider have now announced that they have spotted a slight difference in the way antimatter decays that may go some way to explaining this.

By smashing particles known as protons together in head on collisions in the LHC, the scientists have been able to recreate some of the conditions that existed shortly after the Big Bang.

This has included creating some particles of antimatter, which are identical to normal matter but have a different electrical charge.

The scientists found that some of the antimatter particles they created decayed into smaller particles more quickly than their matter opposites.

Professor Tara Shears, a physicist at the University of Liverpool who helped conduct the experiments, said: “In the moments after the big bang matter and anti matter were continually meeting and annihilate each other.

“As a consequence of a very tiny difference between antimatter and matter, it meant that the matter survived while the antimatter did not.

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