Jul 23, 2020

Why This Stuff Costs $2700 Trillion Per Gram — Antimatter at CERN

Posted by in categories: materials, particle physics

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There’s a factory in Europe that makes antimatter! It’s the rarest, most expensive, and potentially the most dangerous material on earth. Scientists don’t know why this material is so rare. Anti-atoms took 72 years after we discovered antimatter to make. Why?

Thanks to CERN, elise wursten, loïc bommersbach and sarah charley

Creator/host: dianna cowern editor: levi butner research & writing: sophia chen & dianna & imogen ashford

Current estimate of Antimatter, courtesy of Elise:
Stefan Ulmer made a back-of-the-envelope calculation based on energy and power consumption. The explanation goes as follows:
1. CERN produces 3e7 antiprotons per AD cycle or about 1e15 per year
2. This is about 1e15*1.67e-27kg = 1.67 nanogram per year
3. 1 gram of antiprotons has an energy (E=mc^2) of 9e13 Joule
4. The efficiency of the antiproton production process is 1e-9, so you need a billion times more energy: 9e22 Joule
5. The cost of power for CERN is 1kWh = 3.6e6 Joule = 0.1 euro
6. So that would make 0.1/3.6e6*9e22 = 2.5e15 euro
7. And it would take CERN 6e8 years (1999)

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