Fermilab on the power of antimatter, Angels & Demons
When Ron Howard's new film "Angels & Demons" starring Tom Hanks hits movie screens on May 15 viewers will see a fictionalized view of antimatter as a doomsday device.
Matter and antimatter notoriously destroy one another upon contact, making antimatter a favorite weapon in science fiction.
While the depiction of antimatter in "Angels & Demons" is far from real, the material is. And unlike its pop culture reputation, antimatter isn't bad. In fact, it can help diagnose disease, fight cancer and uncover how the universe created structure from free flowing energy.
Antimatter is one of the most expensive materials in the world to produce. It requires a particle accelerator that generates six billion electron volts of power and a vacuum storage container, which keeps the antimatter from touching air or other regular matter.
And most of it is here in Chicagoland.
Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia produces and stores the world's most antimatter for a significant amount of time.
Scientists from Fermilab will explain antimatter's medical and research uses as well as its safe and complex production during a lecture at 8 p.m. on May 21 in Ramsey Auditorium. Scientists will also discuss the truths and falsities of antimatter and particle physics that are described in Dan Brown's best-selling book.
Tickets cost $5 and are available by calling (630)840-2787.
For more information visit the lecture Web site.
Learn more about antimatter in an eight-minute podcast by Keith Gollwitzer, head of Fermilab's antimatter production, http://www.fnal.gov/pub/today/antimatter.mp3
Read more information about antimatter in a symmetrybreaking article.
-- Tona Kunz