In the very beginning of the universe, at the starting shot of the big bang, there existed equal amounts of matter and antimatter. But almost instantly, most antimatter vanished.
Why? If this was the case, matter and antimatter should have annihilated each other, leading to…well, nothing. Or so you’d think.
This paradox is known as Baryon asymmetry, or the “imbalance” between matter and antimatter. Scientists have theorized that, because of this strange characteristic of the universe, there must be something that differentiates matter and antimatter, something that allowed one to stick around while the other disappeared.
Well, this month, physicists working at CERN announced that they had discovered potential variations between matter and antimatter, which may explain part of the reason this occurs.
Unfortunately, these “tiny variations” don’t explain the entire problem; the differences aren’t great enough to account for all the matter in the entire universe. There’s something more at work, here.
But no worries. The Large Hadron Collider may be offline for now, but in 2015 it will reopen and be more powerful than you can possibly imagine (well, you know, double its current power).
Perhaps then we’ll find what we’re looking for.