Yesterday, August 2nd 2004, particle physicists from the UK and around the world working on the BABAR experiment at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) in the USA, announced exciting new results demonstrating a dramatic difference in the behaviour of matter and antimatter. Their discovery may help to explain why the Universe we live in is dominated by matter, rather than containing equal parts matter and anti-matter.
SLAC’s PEP-II accelerator collides electrons and their antimatter counterparts, positrons, to produce an abundance of exotic heavy particle and anti-particle pairs known as B and anti-B mesons. These rare forms of matter and antimatter are short-lived, decaying in turn to other lighter subatomic particles, such as kaons and pions, which can be seen in the BABAR experiment.
“If there were no difference between matter and antimatter, both the B meson and the anti-B meson would exhibit exactly the same pattern of decays. However, our new measurement shows an example of a large difference in decay rates instead.” said Marcello Giorgi, of SLAC, Pisa University and INFN, Spokesman of BABAR.
Julia Maddock | alfa
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