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How powerful is antimatter?

The answer is very powerful!

The Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment is a particle physics detectors in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN.

1 June 2023

Antimatter is very powerful, but not in isolation. When matter and antimatter collide, the particles destroy each other, with a huge energy release governed by Einstein’s very famous equation E=mc2

Particle accelerators, like the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva (shown in the image above), smash particles together in order to create antimatter – but it costs billions of pounds to make tiny amounts which are very difficult to keep for any length of time because they are quickly destroyed in a collision with matter. 

In terms of how powerful such an explosion would be, just one gram of antimatter colliding with one gram of matter would release as much energy as a nuclear bomb. Fortunately, the colliders at CERN can only make very small amounts of antimatter, of the order of nanograms – that’s 0.000000001 grams. So the explosions are relatively small.

At the beginning of the universe, after the Big Bang, it is thought that there were equal amounts of matter and antimatter. But for some reason, only matter has survived in significant amounts since. The apparent disappearance of much of the antimatter, and the relative success of matter, is a great longstanding puzzle for scientists. But for us, it is probably just as well, as otherwise we would likely not exist! Unless of course there is a whole other anti-universe...