8Antimatter Pushing Boundaries

Niels Madsen

Antimatter, normally the realm of science fiction, is one of the frontiers that CERN is pushing. The quote ‘There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now’, which has often been attributed to Lord Kelvin around the year 19001) – that is, before the discovery of quantum mechanics and relativity – well illustrates the dangers of underestimating apparently simple discrepancies. The Standard Model of physics, the great masterpiece of the twentieth century physics, is facing a number of small discrepancies that could have significant consequences. Antimatter is one of a number of promising means by which these issues are being tackled, the small problem with antimatter being that about half the Universe should be made of it – but effectively none is observed. Pushing the small problems in the early twentieth century led to a technological revolution driven by quantum mechanics that could not possibly have been predicted by contemporaries. Pushing today's frontiers is what CERN is all about, and antimatter plays a key role.

8.1 Science and the Unknown

While it is often purported that science is about the search for truth, it is more correct to say that science is the search for and the elimination of untruths. Along the way, temporary or partial truths are built up, such as Newton's laws of gravitation,2) but it is in the nature of science to continuously question assumed truths and not to sweep anything under the carpet. The quote ...

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