Take the 2-minute tour ×
Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. It's 100% free.

Possible Duplicate:
Why would Antimatter behave differently via Gravity?

Regarding the following statement in this article:

Most important of these is whether ordinary gravity attracts or repels antimatter. In other words, does antihydrogen fall up or down?

Is this a seriously considered hypothesis? What would be the consequences on general relativity?

If this is seriously studied, can you point to some not-too-cryptic studies on the (anti ;-)matter?

share|improve this question

marked as duplicate by dmckee May 4 '11 at 17:23

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Duplicte of what? –  mbq May 3 '11 at 17:24

3 Answers 3

I can't guarantee the authenticity of the article. But it seems to me quite bizarre since I fail to see how something (even antimatter) can behave differently than matter in a gravitational field without violating the equivalence principle.

A positron for example is a hole in the Dirac sea and it has the same mass as of the electron and behaves exactly similar to an electron in a gravitational field.

The only repulsive gravity that exists in GR is the cosmological constant in the Einstein's equations which is in no way related to antimatter.

share|improve this answer
Certainly if the equivalence principle is true, then antimatter falls down. But it's always possible that the equivalence principle isn't true! I'm not saying that's likely, but presumably people who talk about testing whether antimatter falls up or down are talking about testing the equivalence principle. –  Ted Bunn May 2 '11 at 20:24

If antimatter anti-gravitates, it would be possible to build a perpetual motion machine:

1) Build some sort of collider that produces antimatter as an end product.

2) allow antimatter to "fall" up to some height. It will gain kinetic energy as it falls.

3) at top of "fall", have antimatter annihlate with matter, producing light that you send through some focusing insturment

4) send photons back down to original collider (they even blueshift as they go back down!)

5) use photons to power original collider, and siphon off surplus energy

share|improve this answer
LOL. Thanks for that :-) –  Sklivvz May 2 '11 at 16:02
Are you sure that there will be an energy surplus? I think even if there were no losses, the thing would just balance. –  anna v May 2 '11 at 19:09
@anna: it gains energy on the way up (antigravitating particle accelerates up) and gains energy on the way down (photons blueshift in a gravitational field), so you'd get the rest mass of the antimatter + blueshift energy + gravitational potential energy of the antigravitating material –  Jerry Schirmer May 2 '11 at 19:34
Thinking about it a bit more, I think you're right. If there were no gravitational blueshift of the photons on their way down, I think you'd have energy balance: the energy gained by this mechanism would be exactly the same as if you just dropped an equivalent amount of mass. But the extra energy release from the blueshift gives you something for nothing. –  Ted Bunn May 2 '11 at 21:14
@lurscher: if that were the case, you'd have to have some sort of internal quantum number to the photon that tracked the fact that the photon came from pair annhillation, and not, say, brehmstrallung. To current experimental knowledge, all photons can be labeled by their polarization and their momentum, without any knowledge of their source. –  Jerry Schirmer May 13 '11 at 14:56

The only problem with this is that antimatter has the same mass as its matter counterpart. So this means that is effected the same way by gravity as normal matter.

share|improve this answer
Who tells you that? –  Fabian May 2 '11 at 21:16

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.