Physics World has announced its list of top 2010 breakthroughs with advances in our understanding of antimatter snatching the top spot.
In 2010, two international teams at CERN – the ALPHA collaboration and the ASACUSA group – have both created ways of controlling antiatoms of hydrogen.
As Hamish Johnston, editor of physicsworld.com, writes, “These breakthroughs scooped our award because it ought now be possible to carry out the first detailed studies of the energy levels in antihydrogen. Any slight difference in the levels compared to ordinary hydrogen could shed light on one of the biggest mysteries in physics – why there is so much more matter than antimatter in the universe.“
Using different techniques, ALPHA and ASACUSA will be taking their research forward in 2011. ALPHA is confident of reaching its ”holy grail” — antiatom spectroscopy using ultraviolet light — while ASACUSA will refine their beam of antihydrogen to study its microwave properties.
The nine other spots in the top 10 encompasses a broad range of the research that has come to light this year – from the first direct measurement of the atmospheric spectrum of a planet outside our solar system to ideas supporting real-time, dynamic holograms depicting scenes occurring in different locations.