Professor Mike Charlton, who was until the start of October Head of the University’s School of Physical Sciences, has been awarded a five-year Senior Research Fellowship by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
The Fellowship will now enable him to dedicate his time entirely to research, and the project’s aim is to make the first measurements of the properties of antimatter.
Antimatter is made up of antiparticles in the same way that normal matter is made up of particles.
Antihydrogen, for instance, is the simplest atom comprised entirely of antiparticles, with an antiproton as a nucleus and a positron in place of the electron normally found in ordinary hydrogen.
Professor Charlton said: “Our current view of how the Universe began involves the Big Bang, which is said to have created equal amounts of matter and antimatter.
“If, as is commonly believed, matter and antimatter cancel each other out, why did all these particles not annihilate each other and leave the Universe devoid of matter?
“By understanding and measuring the properties of antimatter, we hope to draw new conclusions about the very nature of the Universe.”
Although the research project is concerned with the production and trapping of antimatter under laboratory conditions, there is a much larger goal behind the project’s experimental remit.
“Our research, in a very real sense, could change our understanding of how the Universe is made up and perhaps shed new light on how it came into being,” added Professor Charlton.
Professor Charlton was awarded the EPSRC Senior Research Fellowship as a result of the leading role that he and his colleagues at Swansea University have made in the area of antimatter research.
He was part of the ATHENA team that first produced antimatter in the form of antihydrogen, a ground-breaking project that is generally regarded as having started a whole new field in atomic physics.
The antihydrogen project was listed as one of the 15 most significant projects to have been supported by the EPSRC in their first decade.
“The Fellowship allows us to progress to the next stage where we can actually make measurements on the antimatter,” said Professor Charlton, who has been a physicist for around 30 years.
“I am very fortunate to be given this opportunity through the funding to go back to my experimental roots.
“Swansea has unquestionably played a major role in the field of antihydrogen research. The project has already taken 10 years to get to where we are now and there is probably a further 20 years of research ahead. This is a new branch of atomic physics that will continue to be explored for many years to come.”
The EPSRC is the UK Government's leading funding agency for research and training in engineering and the physical sciences, and Professor Charlton has taken up the prestigious award this month.
For more information on the School of Physical Sciences at Swansea University, visit www.swansea.ac.uk/physical_sciences.
Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy
24.03.2017 | University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core
24.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy