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I was curious in regards to Theoretical Physics in reference to Anti-Matter which is meaningless in terms of its name; However, I have read that if antimatter were to make contact with matter a destructive energy (heat, light..., etc) would be released? Is this at all plausible? Just Curious.
- Michael (age 29)
Anti-matter is just like ordinary matter except that for each anti-particle the electrical charge (and the "charges" associated with the nuclear forces) is exactly opposite to that for the matter particle. So when a particle and its anti-particle combine, their energies add up but the charges cancel. What comes out can be any other sort of particle-antiparticle combination whose energies add up to be the same as the starting energy. When a positron annihilates with an electron, usually two or three photons are emitted.
There's nothing more or less destructive about that output (say some light, or an electron-positron pair, etc) than any other little burst of energy.
This whole process is not just possible but routine, both at accelerators and from cosmic rays.
(published on 05/30/10)
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