Monday, August 8, 2011

Mind over Antimatter

Prude's creative conception of antimatter band

For decades The Prude lived in blissful ignorance of antimatter.
Her father, a teacher, never told her about antimatter.  It didn’t come up in the science textbooks from which she laboriously taught her sons. Her Star Trekkie-ish pastor never saw fit to mention it.
And now she learns that a band of it is surrounding her earth and yours?

Antimatter, for the other uninitiated amongst you, is not current slang for ‘it doesn’t matter’.
Here are a few ‘facts'.
A physicist in the 1920’s needed to make a mathematical equation work and decided the only way was if antimatter existed.
Or possibly he had a fight with his wife that morning.
In a burst of mathematical genius blue mood, he decided that everything positive–say, electrons– need an equal and opposite negative.
Antimatter (left) and matter (right)

Antimatter is sort of like taking a piece of playdough and cutting out a shape. We now have a shape- matter- and its equal but negative opposite- a hole.

Supposedly at the birth of the universe there was almost as much antimatter as matter, but we misplaced most of the antimatter.

This concerns The Prude.
Matter, meet antimatter

Because when a bit of antimatter meets up with its equal-but-positive bit of matter, they will annihilate one another.
That’s right.

It was bad enough thinking antimatter had gone where lost reading glasses and forgotten cups of coffee lurk, waiting to be discovered after new reading glasses are purchased or one’s mother-in-law comes to visit.
It is horrifying to learn that a satellite named Pamela (Pamela?) found a band of antimatter- an  ‘abundant source of antiprotons near the Earth", said Alessandro Bruno of the University of Bari.’
 (emphasis added by Prude)
If Mr. Bruno is correct, 
and keeping in mind that word ‘annihilate’, 
and if you ever see the negative of The Prude walking around:
please don’t tell her where I live.


Robin J. Steinweg said...

I'm in. Your science class sounds great! Best of all, I love the smell of Play Dough!

The Prude said...

I love real Play Dough smell too Robin. Sadly, this is the homemade version. Fragrance free:)

bethBA said...

Fun this should be your subject today. Earlier this week I asked my 2-year old grandson: if you eat pasta (his all-time favorite) and antipasta would you still be hungry? His daddy replied for him: "No. Pasta and antipasta, like matter and antimatter, explode when they come into contact with each other." Just another reason for him to enjoy more pasta!

Lori said...

Oh dear. I got good grades in high school science, but I don't remember much about antimatter. Did they have that back in the "olden" days?

The Prude said...

Oh Beth. Your 2 year old grandson already knows more than I ever have.
Maybe he should start a blog :)

Lori, antimatter has been around since the 1920's ;)

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