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Astronomy

Antimatter atoms trapped for first time

National Geographic News
18 November 2010

For the first time, scientists have trapped antimatter atoms -- natural mirror versions of ordinary atoms -- a new study says.

The feat, undertaken a couple of months ago at the Geneva, Switzerland-based European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), paves the way to the potential solution of a fundamental cosmic conundrum.

Theories predict that antimatter particles and normal-matter particles have opposite electrical charges but are otherwise nearly identical. When the two forms of matter meet, they self-annihilate in a shower of pure energy. Yet for all the similarities, scientists think matter and antimatter must differ in some other fundamental way, because even though matter and antimatter should have been created in equal amounts during the big bang, the universe we know is made almost entirely of matter.

Full story from National Geographic News