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Antimatter Bombs – for Real?

Antimatter Bombs – for Real?

Dan Brown¡¦s bestseller Angels & Demons hits the big screen today. For anyone who managed to miss the mega-bestseller, the plot hinges on a plot to blow up the Vatican using an antimatter bomb ¡X a tiny device with the power of a nuclear warhead. They may sound good in a thriller, but are antimatter bombs more than just fiction?

In principle, antimatter looks like the ultimate explosive. Matter and anti-matter annihilate each other on contact, releasing energy according to Einstein¡¦s famous formula. This tells us that one pound of antimatter is equivalent to around 19 megatons of TNT. So, in theory, you could make a pocket-sized bomb that would devastate a city. There is the slight issue of containment ¡V the antimatter has to be kept in a complete vacuum and prevented from touching the walls of the container. But once you¡¦ve solved that one you can go out and wreak havoc¡K just as soon as you¡¦ve got your antimatter.


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