Life Of Navin

Random Musings, Random Bullshit.


Will Antimatter Like Gravity??

After a loooooong time, I get to write something on my favourite subject, Pure Physics!! How many times have you woken up in the middle of the night and wondered "how would Anti-matter, which resides in the deep realms of space, respond to the gravitational field of a planet, say earth??" Well, perhaps never... neither have I!! But incase you have, physicists may soon be able to answer this question for you!!

Physicists have studied antimatter, the opposite of ordinary matter, with great awe for decades. They know that antiparticles have the same mass as ordinary particles, but opposite charge. But no one knows what effect gravity will have on such particles!!

Scientists are now planning to create a horizontal beam of antimatter and measure how much gravity deflects it.

Possible results include:
  • No difference: Antimatter may relate again to matter and react to gravity in exactly the same way in its response to gravity.
  • WTF?? Hows that possible??: Antimatter reacts to gravity in a totally different manner to that of matter, which could point the way to new gravity-like forces, or perhaps even this new force that sci-fi enthusiasts have christened "antigravity".
Most physicists believe result number one will hold true. However they admit that the theories of quantum gravity, which attempt to unite quantum mechanics and general relativity, allow for the possibility of two other gravity-like forces.

In ordinary matter, these forces would oppose each other, and the net effect would be zero!! For antimatter however, these two forces could add up, pulling such particles towards Earth with even more force.

As for the possibility of antigravity, it is not ruled out in the standard model of physics. As a result, some researchers have suggested antimatter may be repelled by gravity. That could explain why so little antimatter is found today, even though theories predict it should have been as plentiful as matter (1 million antimatter particles to 1 million AND ONE particles of matter) in the early universe.

A proposal for an experiment called AEGIS, which would be set up at CERN's Antiproton Decelerator has been declared, and if approved, it might be able to return its experimental data within five years.

Each experiment would test the effect of gravity on antihydrogen, particles which have the same mass as hydrogen but contain antiprotons instead of protons and positrons instead of electrons.The AEGIS team says the project is worth the effort.

the early 1990's, a sub-atomic replication of Galileo's Leaning Tower of Pisa experiment was set up at CERN to test how quickly protons and antiprotons fall through gravity.

Hmm... I think I'll sleep well tonight!! Finally some physics fodder for the mentally unstable mind!! Antimatter+Matter=Kaboom!! I just hope these experiment don't end up in the same manner.....

If antimatter fell down faster, it would mean the discovery of at least one new force, probably two. If it fell up, it would mean our understanding of general relativity is incorrect -- Thomas Phillips, University in Durham, North Carolina


Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the write up, thanks.


Finally after all these years, here's to the beginning of what was there, what is there and hopefully what will remain!! So here are my thoughts & words -Online!!

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