Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Liza discovers the romantic side of matter and anti matter

Today, I'm discussing two opposites that should  obliterate one another.

You know, like the democrats & republicans.

Long ago, I learned that matter and antimatter were opposites and if they met, the would obliterate each other and nothing would remain of either of them. 

And yet in a world filled with matter, scientist keep looking for anti-matter.


It turns out since 1937 scientists have been looking for a particle that was both matter and anti-matter.

So now I'm pissed off with my science teacher.  She was pretty awful, but I didn't realize how inept. 

Clearly, I was misinformed about this entire 'matter', so I'm going to wipe the slate clean and read Scientific American with an blank brain.

So according to SA:

1) All matter has a counterpart of anti-matter with the same, but opposite charge.

2) When matter meets it anti-self, they annihilate each other.

Okay, so I did have the basics correct. (But my science teacher was still terrible. She never got my sense of humor. Once my lab partner said her test tube had a crack and asked if she should throw it out and get a new one.
I said no, she should just throw out the crack.  I lost 50 points over that.)

Now way back in 1937, Physicist Ettore Majorano mathematically concluded that some matter also was it's own anti-matter and it would continue to exist despite rule number 2.

And finally in 2014, scientists have found the elusive Majorana Matter/Anti-Matter.  They located it in a superconductor where electrons run free and electricity flows without resistance. (It's like living in the 60's,) But first they had to lay a tiny chain of magnetic iron atoms over the lead superconductor.

Normally, a magnet destroys a superconductor, but in this single atom chain scenario, it doesn't. Instead, the tiny line of iron atoms cause the electrons within the semi-conductor to align to accomodate both superconductivity and magnetism. Only in doing so it leaves one little electron at the end of the chain that has no choice but to be both matter and antimatter with opposite charges.

 It just goes to show what extremes the odd-electron-out will go to find fit in and be like everyone else.

Now, before we all invite this odd little particle over for lunch, you should know it only exists in a superconductor environment, and it still needs a DNA test to prove it is what it claims to be. Some scientists want more proof.

Personally, I thinks its romantic. Complete opposites learn to become one yet retain their own spins instead of annihilating each other.

And if you want to read the mature and rational version go to Scientific American. I don't do mature and rational.


  1. You should have been in my class - I would have given bonus marks for - get rid of the crack!
    Great post.

    1. Thank you ! I thought it was a super witty response.

  2. Soon I begin to teach about states of matter and I'll be sure to mention this! Will blow the children's minds away!! :)

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Make sure they know this is an unusual situation. Normally they still obliterate each other.


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