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Surprising Science

Supermagnets Trap Antimatter

Scientists at C.E.R.N., the European lab for particle physics, have announced that they trapped antimatter with very strong magnets for 1,000 seconds, smashing the old record.

What’s the Latest Development?

The European particle physics laboratory called C.E.R.N. is currently the world’s stage for the development of a new physics. Recently, scientists there have taken a big initial step in understanding one of the mysteries of the universe: the relationship between matter and anti-matter. According to the most prevalent theory, at the instant of the Big Bang, the universe was equal parts matter and anti-matter. Two seconds later, however, something changed and matter came to greatly outnumber anti-matter. By trapping antimatter for approximately 17 minutes, scientists have their clearest window yet onto the problem.

What’s the Big Idea?

The C.E.R.N. laboratories have long been billed as the place where the most prevalent theory concerning the physical composition of the universe, the Standard Model, will either be confirmed or everyone will go back to the drawing board. By smashing elementary particles together at extremely high energies, scientists aim to essentially recreate the elements and energies present at the moment of the Big Bang. While the particle accelerators are not yet at full power, they have already yielded valuable insights into how the universe began and how it is likely to continue. 


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