Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Where is the antimatter?

The asymmetry between matter and antimatter is one of the lesser-known unsolved questions in modern cosmology. The problem is simple. Look in any space telescope or a particle detector and you will see many more particles (such as electrons or protons) than antiparticles (positrons and antiprotons). However, the currently accepted theory on the evolution of the universe say that the big bang had to produce equal amounts of matter and antimatter. If so, why today we see a lack of antimatter?

Even the great Russian physicist Andrei Sakharov 1967th The tried to explain this asymmetry, small modifications of the standard model of elementary particles. Unfortunately, even today we have no generally accepted theory of such a modification of the standard model. So it makes sense to ask another question: that the asymmetry may not just a local phenomenon? Is not the total amount of matter and antimatter in the universe * over * still the same? Do you have some distant galaxies and clusters that we see is actually made ​​up of antiparticles?

It is not easy to answer this question: how much we know, matter and antimatter behave almost identically. Only a very sensitive detectors that can detect an excess of antimatter in cosmic rays from individual galaxies. This comes into play AMS (Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer), the result of Nobel laureate Samuel Ting and his huge collaboration, ambitiously projected particle detector, which should give more answers about the traces of antimatter in cosmic rays [1].

Just at the time of this writing, the crew of NASA mission STS-134 AMS installed at the International Space Station [2]. It is still not known whether the controversial AMS to provide long-awaited answers. However, anyone who is interested in science currently has a great opportunity to live following the development of one of the greatest scientific projects of our time: news and real-time monitoring is enabled on the website of the detector [3]. For now, everything works normally. It remains only waiting for the results!

No comments:

Post a Comment