CERN sheds light on lack of antimatter
Researchers closer to explaining why universe has substance
Scientists at the world's biggest atom smasher have found further reasons for the apparent lack of antimatter in the universe.
A team working with data from CERN's Large Hadron Collider says it has discovered a particle that decays unevenly into matter and antimatter.
The lab near Geneva said Wednesday that the particle called "B0s" is the fourth sub-atomic particle known to prefer matter over antimatter.
The research addresses the fundamental question of why the universe is filled with matter — stars, planets and even the building blocks of life — and is not just an empty husk.
It is theorized that matter and antimatter were created in equal measure when the universe formed during the Big Bang, but that the latter quickly became very scarce. Scientists have long suspected there must be a difference between how matter and antimatter are formed.
Unfortunately, though B0s tends not to break down into antimatter, it is not enough to explain the universe’s over-abundance of matter.
The data accounts for roughly a galaxy’s worth of matter, not half a universe’s, said one researcher.
The discovery of the first matter-antimatter asymmetry earned two scientists at Brookhaven Laboratory in New York a Nobel Prize in 1980.
Team spokesman Pierluigi Campana said the find was predicted by the standard model of physics but "some interesting discrepancies demand more detailed studies."