Matter and antimatter respond to gravity in the same way, says study

A study published in the journal Nature last Wednesday (5) says that matter and antimatter behave the same under the influence of gravity – which intrigues scientists, who remain unaware of what differentiates them from each other besides the charge. opposite electrical.

Matter and antimatter arose with the Big Bang, each with an electrical charge inverse of its corresponding pair. Image: Luis G. Vergara – Shutterstock

Both arose at the time of the Big Bang, antimatter being practically a mirror of normal matter—exactly the same, with an inverse electrical charge. For every proton, there must be an antiproton, for every electron an antielectron, which is also known as a positron.

When antimatter meets matter, the two annihilate each other, and this process creates energy. At least, that's what experiments on cutting-edge particle accelerators indicate. In theory, there must be equal amounts of antimatter and matter in the universe, canceling out each other, leading to the existence of exactly… nothing.

There is more matter than antimatter in the universe

However, what we actually have is a universe made of matter with very little antimatter. And that's what intrigues scientists, who have been trying to learn more about matter's vanished brother to understand why matter survived and antimatter didn't, which eventually led to our existence.

A recent experiment by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (known by its French acronym CERN) in Switzerland suggests that the interactions of matter and antimatter with gravity, the fundamental force that governs many processes in the universe, is not that sets them apart.

Over the course of 18 months, tests were carried out at CERN's antimatter factory (yes, there is), whereby scientists found that matter and antimatter particles responded to gravity in the same way, with an accuracy of 97%.

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To do this, they used a device called a penning trap, named after the Dutch physicist Frans Penning. This device can store charged particles in a magnetic field, circulating them with a frequency that matches the strength of the magnetic field and the charge-to-mass ratio of the particle.

The researchers fed negatively charged antiprotons and hydrogen ions (as a substitute for protons) into the device and measured how they circulated. According to the scientists, the experiment provided results that were four times more accurate than previously achieved.

As the experiment was carried out on Earth, the particles were under the influence of the planet's gravity. “If the interactions of particles and antiparticles with gravity were different, the measurements would have produced different results,” the researchers said.

“The accuracy of the gravitational interaction obtained in this study is comparable to the target accuracy of the gravitational interaction between antimatter and matter that other research groups plan to measure using free-falling anti-hydrogen atoms,” said Stefan Ulmer, a physicist at the Japanese research institute RIKEN, who oversaw the CERN experiment. "If the results of our study differ from the results of the other groups, it could lead to the dawn of a completely new physics."

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The post Matter and antimatter respond to gravity in the same way, says study first appeared in Gaze Digital .

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