This May Come As A Shock: The Anti-Matter Science in "Angels & Demons" Is Wrong
May 21, 2009 16:06
Ron Howard, director of religious thriller Angels & Demons, spent an entire day with researchers from physics lab CERN. They told him all the ins and outs of anti-matter and explained the large hadron collider (LHC) a new mega-lab for smashing particles. But unfortunately, it doesn't seem like it did much good. As Popular Mechanics reports:
Antimatter is a real substance, first theorized in 1928. "Every time you squeeze a lot of energy into a small space, you produce equal amounts of matter and antimatter," [CERN researcher Rolf] Landua explains. "Nature doesn't like to create just one sort; it always produces both to keep a balance. I compare it to digging a hole in the sand, and then you have a pile next to it. You can't do one without the other." The first antielectron was produced in 1932, and particle accelerators helped scientists create the first antiproton in 1955. Antimatter was first produced at CERN in 1995, though not by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). But unlike in the movie-where CERN has produced a gram of antimatter-the facility has actually only produced a small amount of the substance. "In the movie, we switch on the LHC and it produces a gram of antimatter in a few minutes," Landua says. "That's not possible for two reasons: It would need much more energy to do it-with present efficiency, it would take 10 ^ 22 joules-and the reality of how quickly antimatter can be produced … it would take about a billion years to produce a gram. We can make about a billionth of a gram in a year."
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