Newton’s third law of motion states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. A classic example is that of a jet engine. As thrust pushes out in one direction it propels the vehicle in the opposite direction, and with equal force. This thing that Newton noticed doesn’t appear limited to describe the motion of objects.
If my wife asks me if she should wear black or white and I say white she wears black. If I ask my three year old son to stop dropping F-bombs he drops more F-bombs. The same is true when energy is converted into matter. When two high energy photons collide, such as those in the gamma wavelength, an electron and its equal and opposite antimatter partner the positron are created (this is illustrated below. While this has never been done in practice it has long been theorized and a recent experiment has been designed to do this in a lab to recreate the early moments of the universe. A similar event has been observed experimentally.
A similar event happens when virtual particles arise from quantum fluctuations which are the resultants of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Particle-antiparticle pairs pop out of the quantum vacuum, then annihilate each other and go back from whence they came. There is an experiment called the Dynamical Casimir Effect where one can capture one or both of the pair disallowing the annihilation process and apparently creating something from nothing.
Knowing that the universe started from nothing but a relatively infinite amount of energy in a singularity which was then converted into matter would lead one to wonder where the fuck is all the antimatter? There should be as much antimatter as their is matter. Or not much at all should exist whatsoever because all of the particle antiparticle pairs should have annihilated themselves, which clearly isn’t the case. That’s one of the greater mysteries of science.
While talking this over with my son an idea came to me: perhaps there is an alternate universe that is comprised completely of antimatter. A universe where there is an antimatter john posting a blog about why is there all this antimatter and no matter. That would wrap a few things up in a neat bow. The universe came about due to quantum fluctuations and answer the mystery of what happened to all the antimatter.
It seems I’m not alone in this idea. Which is unfortunate because I could really use a Nobel prize. But then I would have to learn math. And take real physics and not just be an armchair theorist.
I plan on doing a podcast on this topic and a few others with an old friend of mine so I hope you’ll join me.