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18 May 2009

Antimatter IV

A BIG problem in physics.

With that, another question popped out in physics. And so far, no one can fully explain why is it so.

The million dollar question is:

Why is there SO MUCH matter in this universe compared to antimatter? (a.k.a Baryon Asymmetry Problem)

At the beginning of time which is the Big Bang – the beginning of this universe, everything was SO HOT back then, matter and antimatter is always spontaneously generated from pure energy.

The amount of matter and antimatter at that time should be the same. But somehow, physicist believe that there’s a slight difference in the amount that cause the imbalance. Like, for every billion antielectron, there’s a billion AND ONE electron. Both collide and left that ONE electron that survived the titanic explosion.

And we, are the leftovers.
Andromeda Galaxy. Closest major galaxy to our Milky Way.

Thank God for that.

We ARE using antimatter in hospital now.

As absurd as it sound, it is in fact, the truth. Ever heard of PET scan? It stands for Positron Emission Tomography.
Real life application - non invasive scanning technology

It is used to scan your body without any incisions involved. You’re given a radioactive sugar, you drink it. The brain consume sugar and the sugar will spontaneously release positrons INSIDE your brain. The positron will immediately encounter an electron and annihilated, generating gamma rays that can be detected outside the body.

And it will reveal clear photos of brain activity in real time!
The working brain. (Red marks the activity in that brain.)

So, the bottom line for this whole story – while antimatter is unlocking the secrets of the human brain, human brain, has yet to unlock antimatter’s secret. We’re close.

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