The explanation of antimatter that CERN (which somehow stands for the European Organization for Nuclear Research) has created around Hanks' movie Angels & Demons is rather informative and understandable. But since you might not be as intrigued as I am, allow me to excerpt:
In the intense heat of the Big Bang, particles of matter were forged out of pure energy. But for every particle of matter created, a 'twin' was also born - an 'antiparticle' identical in mass but with opposite electric charge.
Our world is made of matter, which consists of three types of particles called electrons, protons and neutrons. Each particle has a specific mass and electric charge. For example, the electron has a negative charge, and the proton a positive charge.
Antimatter particles have the same mass as the particles that make up our world, but carry the opposite charge. For example, the electron, which has a negative charge, has an antimatter 'twin' with the same mass but the opposite charge; we call the 'anti-electron' a positron.
Particles and antiparticles go together. Imagine sitting on a sandy beach. When you dig a hole, you also create a pile of sand. One cannot be made without making the other: they are complementary - just like particles and antiparticles.
So, that sandy beach metaphor was pretty effective in helping my understanding of antimatter along and it reminds me again of LOST.
Back to what Mr. Hanks said -- I looked it up and indeed CERN made and stored antimatter for a wee bit of time. But it takes a lot of work and energy (literally) to trap antimatter and keep it separated from matter. The world record for storing antiparticles is held by the TRAP experiment at CERN: it kept a single antiproton in a Penning trap for 57 days! The scientists performed very precise measurements of its mass and charge before the trap was switched off and the antiproton ... annihilated. Fun fact: The British scientist John Dalton (1766-1844) who developed the atomic theory of matter, kept a meterological journal for 57 years from 1787 to 1844 (disclosure: I have not verified this fun fact's veracity).
Doesn't all this talk of beaches and twins and pushing a button to keep something in existence (or at bay) make you think of LOST? Indeed, these people have speculated on antimatter theory and LOST. I agree with the person who commented on 8/26/08 and think more recent episodes definitely support antimatter experimentation theories. I also agree that people with a better understanding of particle physics should contribute to the body of LOST theories immediately and encourage them to use the comments section of this post to do so.
- Stupid Lost Theories #57
- Episode #57 of Lost: Flashes Before Your Eyes
- A thorough enough exploration of the use of #57 in music
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/57_(number) read every link, pay particular attention to what's going to be happening in 2057 and the mysteries of heinz 57 because I know you are curious about that. Also, someone who wants to edit wikipedia should add these items to this record:
1. everything that can be verified from this "all about 57"page: http://www.wisdomportal.com/Numbers/57.html
4. A yet to be created page that lists every road and transit route in the United States of America that is #57. Because that's really important information for someone to assemble.
Thank you, Tom Hanks, for making antimatter matter to me and to my gentle readers. Also, thank you to the writers, cast and crew of the television show LOST. Last but not least, this post was brought to you by the number 57 and the letter L.