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And yet here we are.

Scientists just confirmed the problem at the centre of the Universe: it shouldn't really exist at all.

That's because at the very beginning of existence, the equal amounts of matter and antimatter present should have annihilated each other, meaning you wouldn't be reading this article around 13.8 billion years later.

One explanation is that some crucial difference between matter and antimatter prevented this catastrophe, but the most recent research at CERN in Switzerland has found that apart from their opposing charges, they seem completely identical.

"All of our observations find a complete symmetry between matter and antimatter, which is why the Universe should not actually exist," says one of the researchers, Christian Smorra.

Fun Fact

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A Penning trap used to store antiprotons. Credit: Stefan Sellner, Fundamental Symmetries Laboratory, RIKEN, Japan
https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.98.023402


As antimatter can't be physically contained, researchers used Penning traps of charged particles to hold antiprotons at incredibly low temperatures (about 0.4 Kelvin / -272.75 C / -458.95 F), wrapped in magnetic and electrical fields, ready to be measured.

Along the way the team broke the record for storing antimatter – it was held for 405 days in total.

Where do we go from here?

To even greater levels of precision, say the CERN scientists. There has to be some reason why we're all here living and breathing.

Either that or we're in a huge computer simulation.

via Science Alert


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