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Angels & Demons - ANTIMATTER EXPLOSIONS

ANTIMATTER EXPLOSIONS (Illustration) Film Philosophy STEM Fiction

This image, from CERN, stands for the propositions that: (1) energy and mass are interchangeable quantities (which can be transformed into each other); and (2) when energy is converted to mass, it always does so by producing 50% matter particles and 50% antimatter particles.

 

About a gram of antimatter is “on the loose” in Angels & Demons.  While that doesn’t sound like much, the destructive power of a single gram of antimatter is extremely significant. 

The question becomes:  Is it possible to create that much antimatter in a particle accelerator (or elsewhere)?  Another way of asking the question is:  How much antimatter has ever been created in the history of CERN?

We get the answer to that question from CERN itself. 

Only small - very small - quantities of antimatter are produced in particle accelerators (sometimes referred to as “atom smashers”).  That’s even true in the biggest accelerator which exists today - the LHC (the Large Hadron Collider) at CERN.

If CERN used all of its accelerators to only make antimatter, the company could produce no more than about one-billionth of a gram in a year.  If CERN were asked to produce one gram of antimatter - the amount made by Vetra in the story - it would take ... about ... a billion years.

In fact, the total amount of antimatter which CERN has produced in its entire history ... is ... less ... than ten nanograms.  Translated into something everyone can understand, that would be enough energy to power a sixty-watt light bulb for about four hours.

Antimatter explosions, thus, are not the same as nuclear explosions.  In the former, antimatter annihilates when it touches matter.  In the latter, a chain reaction causes the explosion.

Fortunately, antimatter cannot be used as a weapon because there just isn’t enough to use for that purpose.  But if it ever could happen ... as proposed in the film, Angels & Demons ... watch out!!

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5156stories and lessons created

Original Release: May 01, 2009

Updated Last Revision: Dec 04, 2014


To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"ANTIMATTER EXPLOSIONS" AwesomeStories.com. May 01, 2009. Apr 22, 2018.
       <http://www.awesomestories.com/asset/view/ANTIMATTER-EXPLOSIONS-Angels-Demons>.
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