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Nothing's the Antimatter

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A lonely electron A lonely electron (Charles Michelet)

Just after the Big Bang, the universe was a primordial soup made of light. Then, it started belching out matter. Neil deGrasse Tyson explains how deeply shocking this is, and Marcelo Gleiser reveals an imperfection in the laws of physics that makes our very existence possible.


Marcelo Gleiser and Neil deGrasse Tyson

Comments [19]

rusrus from Chicago

Thank you for this great episode, does anyone know of a really great book that 'walks the layperson' through this concept?

Jun. 17 2017 04:53 PM

Oh the left side of my brain is fried. Love love this explanation of matter. "Just after the Big Bang, the universe was a primordial soup made of light. Then, it started belching out matter." That matter is made up of light, well, belching light that had to produce antimatter in the process of producing matter got me thinking. Understandment. The question was what would happen to us if matter and antimatter met-collided? What immediately came to my mind was vaporization of matter which means, I thought, the speed of light was reduced to the speed less than that which produces the proverbial primordial soup particle that makes all this possible. OMG. When you can get a simple minded person like myself excited about thinking I can even begin to understand this stuff you are really doing a wonderful thing. Thank you. thank you. thank you. This was so much fun.

Jun. 11 2017 08:07 PM
Dante from Florida

I love how it progresses from a soup of light, then belches of matter, finally after some rearranging we come. It’s really amazing how anything and everything can be made from the pure rearrangement of particles. I also found it very interesting in the fact that you can transform light into particles that have mass. Very informative segment, I learned a lot.

Nov. 10 2014 11:05 PM

Neutrons are chargeless particle. Are their antineutrons?

Feb. 03 2014 02:20 PM
Harmon from Texas

Part of my standard of beauty, is that it is slightly non-symmetrical. Michelangelo talked about it. I was thinking about it one day and realized that the slight non-symmetricality of the universe connects directly to what I consider beautiful.
Oh, and creating positrons is easy, you can buy commercial quantities of a fairly common element that creates them all the time. And you don't need a cloud chamber to detect the difference, only a copper tube with a corner in it (a copper plumbing corner will do), and a radiation detector.

Feb. 01 2014 04:15 PM
Otto Krog from Denmark

My view on you and antimatter is, that antimatter is the mind and consciousness of all living entities. The missing antimatter in physics theories are still there. Just in parallel universes.

You are your own universe.

Reality is where the minds (antimatter) meets the physical universe. You can create anything in your own universe.

Interested? Then read my philosophical multiverse theory.

Google crestroyer theory, and find it instantly.

Sep. 04 2012 01:54 PM
kyle from CT, US

There was not an excess of one particle of matter, it was an excess of one per billion. Kinda makes a big difference when you consider that there are more particles in your body than you would ever be able to count.

May. 12 2012 06:21 PM
Shannon from Orlando, FL

My mind is totally blown. This universe exists because of just an overage of one positive particle? Amazing! I agree with Neil - very shocking indeed that existence exists. If the overage was somehow balanced, we would cease to be. This choked me up - it's so beautiful.

Jul. 25 2011 01:20 PM
techandlife from UK

Very interesting segment, I didn't know about this at all.

Came across a blog post on Cosmic Log which goes into recent results from Fermilab where they are picking up this asymmetry in new experiments

Jul. 02 2011 06:08 AM

Loved this segment. Very well explained, and this stuff is fascinating.

@Andy from Colorado: Science hasn't found the full answer yet; therefore, God. What a cop-out. Stop being satisfied with not knowing, it's despicable. Just thinking about what we could know by now but don't as a result of this mentality throughout history is depressing.

Jun. 09 2011 01:26 PM
Per from Norway from Norway

This research struck me as relevant for the human condition as well. Life exist due to asymmetry, due to an imperfection at the time of creation. Yet, we seek to annihilate asymmetries and to perfect the human condition by means of mass medication of kids and therapies that seeks to adjust the patient to a mean. A process of mass conformity.
All great art are born out of a psyche that is out of balance. In perfect harmony creation/creativity stops, and life cease to exist. The buddhist concept of Nirvana is interesting in this regard. When total harmony is reached, life ceases to perpetuate itself, and you reach the state of Nirvana.

May. 15 2011 02:30 PM

Hi Kai,
That choral piece is "Rosa das Rosas" by Ensemble Alcatraz.

Apr. 29 2011 11:29 AM
Kai Stewart from North Carolina

Excellent and enlightening as usual, well done Radio Lab! Quick question though, what is the name of the choral piece played after Mr. Tyson says "We would call that an asymmetry"?

Apr. 28 2011 03:34 PM
Andy from Colorado

I am not the intelligent designer... I spelled "designer" incorrectly in my original post.

Pardon me for that.

Apr. 27 2011 11:36 AM
Andy from Colorado

Unexplained? I don't thnk so. Intelligent desinger... how else could something so simple, yet so complicated actually be?

Apr. 27 2011 11:34 AM
Jane Harrison from Oakland, CA

this made me cry. rarely has something made me realize this deeply how rare and precious being alive is.

Apr. 25 2011 04:13 PM
Charles from Seattle

So does this mean that there must be another "negative" universe out there somewhere?

Apr. 22 2011 11:53 PM

Must admit that I'd known this before, but as usual, RadioLab did it way better. (For example, explaining how we detect matter and anti-matter when they're too small to be seen. Never knew that!)

Apr. 20 2011 11:57 AM
Ben Carling from 03884

I thought I could not be amazed anymore,
because it had been so long.
I thought my mind couldn't be blown anymore,
after today, I admit,
I was wrong.

Apr. 19 2011 12:28 PM

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