Science fiction is positively bristling with antimatter.  It dreams up vast quantities of the stuff.

Antimatter is made of stuff opposite in all ways to ordinary material.  The idea was first mooted by physicist Paul Dirac in 1930.  The existence of the positron, or anti-electron, was confirmed two years later.

Star Trek’s Chief Engineer Scotty uses frozen anti-hydrogen as the primary fuel for the propulsion of the Starship Enterprise.  Physicists in Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons manage to create enough antimatter to blow up the Vatican.  And science fiction writers have imagined antimatter galaxies and an even entire antimatter universe.

But antimatter cannot easily exist in our Universe.  So far only trillionths of a gram have been isolated in real labs, the potential of antimatter is colossal.  It would make a fantastic power source.

When antimatter joins explosively with ordinary matter, the result is 100% mutual annihilation.  And since Einstein’s famous equation E=mc2 applies, a small amount of matter is converted into an enormous amount of energy.  A mass of antimatter equivalent to a car could produce all of the world’s electricity for one year.

No wonder Scotty always looks worried.

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