What Is Antimatter?

When learning about antimatter, perhaps one of the most important yet confusing questions is the obvious: What exactly is antimatter? In order to understand what antimatter is, we must first define what it is not. When we think of matter, we think of things we know to exist—stars, clouds, human bodies—as well as the subatomic particles like protons, neutrons and electrons which make up an item's DNA. These particles were released into the universe at the time of its inception: the Big Bang. We know that the very fabric of our planet and galaxy is the result of certain interactions and combinations among these particles. At the same time of matter's creation at the onset of the universe, antimatter was also created. Now, we can define antimatter as exhibiting the exact opposite properties as regular matter—and in much scarcer quantities. Electric charges, elemental properties, everything is reversed. But why? And what purpose does it serve?

Those questions are still be investigated. In 1928, Paul Dirac submitted predictions that antimatter may in fact exist, a theory validated in 1932, 1933 and 1936 with subsequent Nobel Prize awards for discovery. One could speculate antimatter holds the key to many unanswered questions about our universe, like if we could have a mirror image? Learn more about this amazing science with this playlist.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. The existence of antimatter was first asserted in 1928 by physicist Paul Dirac. 00:22

  2. It is theoretically possible for antimatter galaxies to exist. 01:30

  3. It would cost $100 billion to create one milligram of antimatter. 02:18

Key Facts In This Video

  1. For every particle, there is an equal and opposite anti-particle. 00:23

  2. It's difficult to make anything big out of anti-matter since it annihilates when it meets matter. 01:31

  3. No one knows why the Big Bang produced more matter than antimatter. 02:48

Written by Curiosity Staff October 23, 2014

Curiosity uses cookies to improve site performance, for analytics and for advertising. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies, our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.