Set phazers on…gamma-ray annihilation?

From BBC News today:

It only took 50 years, but by merging electrons with their antimatter equivalent–positrons–in a silicon matrix, scientists have succeeded (at least for a quarter of a nanosecond) in creating Di-positronium, an ultrarare form of matter first predicted to exist by theoretical physicist John Wheeler in 1951.

The annihilation of these particles when they come into contact with normal matter produces a burst of gamma rays, which has obvious military, but also fusion research implications. Both groups are counting on this discovery to speed the creation of ultrapowerful (wait for it) “gamma-ray annihilation lasers”, useful for kick-starting fusion reactions…or blasting enemy starships out of the sky.

My favorite part of the article? The quote near the end:

“A gamma-ray laser is the kind of thing that if it existed people would find new uses for it everyday,” said Dr Cassidy.

No doubt, Dr Cassidy. No doubt.

And you wonder why the stereotype of the mad scientist came about…

– S.

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