What Is Antimatter?
What doِ you getِ when youِ combine theِ theory ofِ relativity andِ quantum mechanics? No joke here—just a revolutionary concept coined byِ Nobel Prize winner P.A.M.
Dirac afterِ he discovered a strange disparity inِ anِ equation.
What exactlyِ was Dirac’s equation? Well, inِ short, itِ was a vast expansion ofِ Einstein’s theory ofِ relativity combined withِ quantum mechanics inِ a manner thatِ hadِ never beenِ done beforeِ mathematically.
Dirac foundِ that thisِ equation allowed forِ the existence ofِ particles asِ we knowِ them, asِ well asِ oppositely charged particles withِ magnetic moments oppositeِ those ofِ the correspondingِ particles ofِ matter.
He called theseِ oppositely charged particles antiparticles, orِ antimatter.
Antimatter isِ subdivided inِ the sameِ manner asِ matter, bothِ having electrical charges andِ magnetic moments.
For example, anِ electron isِ a particle ofِ matter, andِ a positron isِ its antimatter twin.
An electron hasِ a negative charge, andِ a positron hasِ a positive one.
That hasِ been, andِ will mostِ likelyِ remain, theِ biggest mystery ofِ particle physics.
It isِ a concept called baryon asymmetry, andِ it hasِ beenِ tackled byِ physicists across theِ world sinceِ the discovery ofِ antimatter.
In fact, a banana produces antimatter atِ a rate ofِ one positron everyِ 75 minutes—a level farِ belowِ anyِ detectability threshold, butِ a level nonetheless.