22-25 July 2021 Jodrell Bank Observatory

“I’ll be your mirror”: Reflections on Antimatter

Professor Chris Parkes from the University of Manchester and CERN enjoys colliding protons at the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest and most powerful particle collider. He, and 1379 of his closest friends from 83 institutes in 19 countries, study the differences between matter and antimatter with the Large Hadron Collider Beauty (LHCb) detector and have published over 500 scientific papers. Chris takes over as leader of the international collaboration in July. He lives in Manchester and Geneva with Julia Steinberger (also appearing at bluedot), their son, and his encyclopaedic collection of David Bowie albums.

Talk: “I’ll be your mirror”: Reflections on Antimatter

At the birth of our universe, during the Big Bang, equal amounts of matter and antimatter were created as mirror images. Where did all the antimatter in the universe go? Today, 14 billion years later, when we look around at the universe, we see it is composed almost entirely of matter. At CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, we are carrying out experiments to measure tiny differences between the fundamental particles and their antiparticles. We discovered a new difference between matter and antimatter last year. A hundred years ago, scientists didn’t know antimatter even existed, but today it is used for medical diagnosis and industrial applications. In this talk we will reflect on what we know of antimatter and where the glass is still dark.