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Antimatter, here to stay

Physicists trap antihydrogen for long enough to study the elusive material

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4:10pm, November 17, 2010

Researchers are a step closer to the Angels & Demons scenario dreamed up by novelist Dan Brown, in which a rogue priest tries to destroy the Vatican with a vial full of antimatter.

In reality, the amount of antimatter created to date wouldn’t release enough energy to heat a pot of coffee. But physicists at CERN, the European particle physics laboratory near Geneva, have now managed to make and hold dozens of antihydrogen atoms for a fraction of a second, far longer than ever before.

The work, reported online November 17 in Nature, is a significant step toward making antimatter stick around long enough to be able to study how it differs from ordinary matter.

“In 10 years people

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