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Antimatter: fact, fiction and fancy

At a Glance
Tuesday 7 September 2010
Lecture Theatre 3, Science Concourse
Open To:
Talk by Professor Frank Close, showing that the reality of antimatter is even more fascinating than the fiction.
Antimatter by Frank Close (book cover)

As part of the CKM2010 conference, renowned science writer Professor Frank Close of the University of Oxford shows that the reality of antimatter is even more fascinating than the fiction itself.

Antimatter explores a strange mirror world, where particles have identical yet opposite properties to those that make up the familiar matter we encounter everyday. Explore a world where left becomes right and positive becomes negative. Where should matter and antimatter meet? The two annihilate in a blinding flash of energy that makes even thermonuclear explosions look feeble by comparison.

We know that once, antimatter and matter existed in perfect counterbalance, and that antimatter then perpetrated a vanishing act on a cosmic scale that remains one of the greatest mysteries of the universe. Today, antimatter does not exist normally, at least on Earth, but we know that it is real for scientists are now able to make small pieces of it in particle accelerators, such as that at CERN in Geneva.

Looking at the remarkable prediction of antimatter and how it grew from the meeting point of relativity and quantum theory in the early 20th century, at the discovery of the first antiparticles, at cosmic rays, annihilation, antimatter bombs, and antiworlds, Close separates the facts from the fiction about antimatter, and explains how its existence can give us profound clues about the origins and structure of the universe.

About CKM2010

The International Workshop on the CKM Unitarity Triangle is well established as one of the most important meetings in the field of quark flavour physics. It provides a venue for theorists and experimentalists to discuss the latest new developments and to come up with ideas for improved analyses.

Find out more about the CKM2010 conference on their website