If matter falls down, does antimatter fall up? - Chloé Malbrunot
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To produce antiprotons, we need accelerators that can bring particles of matter to high enough energies so that their collisions with other particles will produce the heavy antiprotons. Those are selected out from the protons also produced in the collisions by magnets.
To make antihydrogen, however, we need to decelerate the produced antiparticles in order to be able to trap them in electro-magnetic traps. CERN is the only place in the world where an accelerator is coupled to an antimatter decelerator. You can learn about the antiproton decelerator (AD) or by visiting CERN! Check out the student section!
At the AD, there are many experiments, which form antihydrogen atoms in order to study their properties. The positron in the antihydrogen atom, like the electron in hydrogen, can only take discrete energy levels. Three experiments at the AD: ALPHA, ATRAP and ASACUSA want to measure some particular energy levels of antihydrogen in order to compare them with the very precise measurements already existing for hydrogen.
You can learn in this video how ASACUSA for example is planning on performing the measurement. Why do you think nature prefers matter to antimatter? What is the major question that physicists are trying to answer about matter and antimatter? Watch the video and find out!
Here is an interview with the scientists who work on trapping antimatter. Catch their enthusiasm!
Interested in reading about this topic? Check out Antihydrogen in a bottle an article that explains the first observations made by ALPHA!
AEgIS, another experiment at the AD, wants to measure the effect of the Earth gravitational field on antihydrogen (the topic of this video). To learn more on the experimental technique they chose, you can visit the website of the experiment.
Want to help out the scientists involved in this experiment? Check out this article and put the AEgIS link on your favorites list and find out how you can help! Be a citizen scientist at Crowdcrafting! Find something you are interested in and pursue it!
Below, a selection of videos which discuss antimatter:
Rolf Landau: TED-Ed: What happened to antimatter?
Michael Doser: TEDxGeneva - The return of Antimatter, 2011
Michael Doser: Origin symposium at Ars Electronica, Linz, 2012
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