Introduction: AntiMatter

Every particle has an antiparticle with the same mass but the opposite electric charge. The proton has the negatively charged antiproton; the electron has the positively charged anti-electron, or positron.

Neutral particles can have antiparticles, too. The neutron might have no charge, but quarks - the smaller particles that make it up - do. Turn these quarks into antiquarks by flipping their charges, and you've made an antineutron.

See a diagram of the types of antimatter humanity can make

The possibility of antimatter first surfaced in equations formulated by British theoretical physicist Paul Dirac in 1928 - four years before American experimenter Carl Anderson found positrons in cosmic rays.

Notoriously, matter and antimatter destroy each other, or annihilate, whenever they come into contact. An electron and a positron mutually destruct in a puff of light consisting of two photons sent out in precisely opposite directions, each with an energy corresponding exactly to the mass of the electron (and positron).

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