Swansea professor explores nature’s conundrum at U.S. conference

A Swansea University professor has appeared as a guest speaker at the annual meeting of the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science, (AAAS) in the U.S. and discussed research that could explain one of nature’s conundrums.

Professor Mike Charlton, Chair in Experimental Physics at Swansea University, gave a talk entitled Resonant Quantum Transitions in Trapped Antihydrogen Atoms at the event in Boston.

In this talk, Prof Charlton described research into antihydrogen - the antimatter equivalent of hydrogen, which is the most abundant atom in the Universe

Prof Charlton said: “At the big bang, matter and antimatter would have existed in equal quantities. However, nature seems to have a slight preference for matter, which allows our universe and everything in it to exist.”

Advances made by ALPHA collaboration at CERN (the European Organisation for Nuclear Research), have made the creation and capture of these atoms possible for short periods of time. The ALPHA experiments aim to compare hydrogen and antihydrogen, in order to study fundamental symmetries between matter and antimatter.

Prof Charlton said: “This research is important because the Universe has shown a preference for matter.  The work compares hydrogen atoms with their antimatter counterparts as a way to investigate why this has happened and may, in the future, help to explain the absence of bulk antimatter and unlock another secret as to how the Universe came about.”