PHYSICS

An Antimatter Bomb


In Dan Brown’s novel Angels and Demons, villains steal a gram of antimatter from CERN and threaten to blow up Rome. Now we know that when a substance meets antimatter, both masses disappear, turning into radiation strictly according to Einstein’s formula: E = mc2. As you can see, there is a monstrous magnitude in this formula — 300,000,000 metres per second, which is the speed of light, squared. This makes antimatter much more powerful than a thermonuclear bomb. Calculations show that the annihilation of that stolen gram of antimatter would be equivalent to 430 kilotonnes of TNT!


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