Bit of physics…

Ok so I usually post about biology (seeing as that’s what I do at uni) but I found out about a bit of particle physics which seems really interesting so I looked into it a bit more aaand now I’m writing this.

So some British scientists think that they can create matter from just light. The idea for this came originally from two American Scientists called John Wheeler and Gregory Breit. They thought two ‘particles’ of light, called photons, could collide (although this happens very rarely) and create an electron and the antimatter equivalent, namely a positron. Electrons are part of atoms, they make up the peripheries of atoms. This though process was carried out during the production of the first nuclear bomb in 1934. It is a demonstration of Einstein’s famous equation, E=mc^2 (not sure how to do superscirpt :P), otherwise called quantum electrodynamics.

So how does the method actually work? Well, the first stage would be firing electrons at a slab of gold. This produces a beam of high-energy photons. The second stage would be firing a really high-powered laser into a small gold capsule. The last step is a matter of sending the first beam of photons into the gold capsule where the two streams of photons collide with one another.

But whats really exciting is that some British scientists think that they might be able to actually do this within the next year. Some of the labs around the world which think they have the technology to do this are: The Omega laser in New York and the Orion laser in Berkshire, UK.

I personally find this really interesting because it’s such an elegant example of how two things in physics which I personally though almost entirely unrelated can actually be tied to one another quite closely. Everything in science is connected!


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