Antimatter used to be the stuff of science fiction; that’s the stuff that powered the starship Enterprise on Star Trek. These days however, our brilliant scientists have not only actually created antimatter, just recently they have achieved the stupendous feat of capturing it long enough to study it.
Scientists, led by Professor Jeffrey Hangst at the CERN laboratory in Europe announced that they have managed to capture 38 antihydrogen atoms for a tenth of a second, in a specially designed magnetic trap. To non-physicists that may not sound very impressive, but to these guys at CERN, 38 atoms is an astronomical figure, and a tenth of a second is an eternity.
While the scientists at CERN are jumping hoops, what does this latest breakthrough represent to the ordinary man in the street? Apparently not much to those who are religiously inclined, or just plain ignorant it seems. A quick browse through various websites announcing the news indicates the usual antipathy, incredulity and indifference one has come to expect of humans who are too absorbed in their own little worlds.
However, there are a good number of people who understand the importance of this research, and who are hopeful that it could lead us to understand the nature and origins of the universe. These people know and understand that such research enables scientists to uncover secrets that lead to complex technological creations that revolutionizes the way we live.
Others of course, will continue to question the vast expenditure and use of resources that are necessary for such endeavours. Yet others will feel threatened that man is venturing into areas that are best left to their vengeful, spiteful, domineering gods.
The latter do not matter; antimatter matters…