GENEVA, Switzerland — In the antimatter department at CERN, the
world’s biggest science facility, a picture hangs on the wall showing
the filmmaker Ron Howard surrounded by beaming scientists.
adaptation of the Dan Brown novel Angels & Demons centers around a
secret society that steals a small quantity of antimatter from CERN and
hides it in the Vatican.
The book and the film’s scientific
accuracy was limited to the convenient plot point that, when brought
together, antimatter and matter annihilate one another in a terrific
burst of energy, just enough, in this case, to wipe out Vatican City.
Now to reality: scientists at CERN announced recently
that they had managed to create, isolate and hold a small quantity of
antimatter for over 16 minutes — the longest by far that had been