Why Are We Here? Oh.

by |
05/17/2010 4:43 PM |


Physicists at Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois (“where tradition and vision meet“) have unlocked the central mystery of all existence, reducing all hope of god to mathematical quirk and opening up a new vista to the vast and dreamless void, the New York Times reports:

[Scientists] are reporting that they have stumbled onto a new clue that could help unravel one of the biggest mysteries of cosmology: why the universe is composed of matter and not its evil-twin opposite, antimatter. If confirmed, the finding portends… a possible explanation for our own existence.

“In a mathematically perfect universe, we would be less than dead; we would never have existed,” reporter Dennis Overbye, who seems to have had more fun writing this article than I am having reading it, continues:

According to the basic precepts of Einsteinian relativity and quantum mechanics, equal amounts of matter and antimatter should have been created in the Big Bang and then immediately annihilated each other in a blaze of lethal energy, leaving a big fat goose egg with which to make to make stars, galaxies and us. And yet we exist, and physicists (among others) would dearly like to know why.

Sifting data from collisions of protons and antiprotons at Fermilab’s Tevatron, which until last winter was the most powerful particle accelerator in the world, the team, known as the DZero collaboration, found that the fireballs produced pairs of the particles known as muons, which are sort of fat electrons, slightly more often than they produced pairs of anti-muons. So the miniature universe inside the accelerator went from being neutral to being about 1 percent more matter than antimatter.

So. Fat electrons.