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In particle physics, antimatter is a material composed of the antiparticle "partners" to the corresponding particles of ordinary matter. A particle and its antiparticle have the same mass as one another, but opposite electric charge and other quantum numbers. For example, a proton has positive charge while an antiproton has negative charge. A collision between any particle and its antiparticle partner leads to their mutual annihilation, giving rise to various proportions of intense photons (gamma rays), neutrinos, and sometimes less-massive particle–antiparticle pairs. The consequence of annihilation is a release of energy available for heat or work, proportional to the total matter and antimatter mass, in accord with the mass–energy equivalence equation, .

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A team of scientists believe to have discovered antimatter in a lightning storm. Antimatter is made up of positrons, which are the same mass of an electron but have a positive charge. Antimatter is rarely detected on Earth since it is destroyed when in contact with ordinary matter.

Contributed by Sam Feldstone

Producing more of this stuff could lead to a cleaner world

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