Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Monday, May 19, 2014

Imperial College London physicists have discovered how to create matter from light -- a feat thought impossible when the idea was first theorised 80 years ago. In a tiny office in Imperial's Blackett Physics Laboratory, three physicists worked out a relatively simple way to physically prove a theory first devised by scientists Gregory Breit and John Archibald Wheeler in 1934. "Despite all physicists accepting the theory to be true, when Breit and Wheeler first proposed the theory, they said that they never expected it be shown in the laboratory. Today, nearly 80 years later, we prove them wrong," said physicist Steve Rose of Imperial College.


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Breit and Wheeler suggested that it should be possible to turn light into matter by smashing together only two particles of light (photons), to create an electron and a positron -- the simplest method of turning light into matter ever predicted. The calculation was found to be theoretically sound but Breit and Wheeler said that they never expected anybody to physically demonstrate their prediction. It has never been observed in the laboratory and past experiments to test it have required the addition of massive high-energy particles.


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Cosmic rays produce electron/positron pairs all the time, so this should work.

Besides, the Standard Model demands that it work.

#1 | Posted by HeliumRat at 2014-05-18 11:27 PM | Reply | Flag:

Then make it work and get back to us.

#2 | Posted by Diablo at 2014-05-18 11:43 PM | Reply | Flag:

I just grabbed a couple of photons in the palm of my hand and squeezed, but wouldn't you know, the result is too small to see with my naked eye.

#3 | Posted by MUSTANG at 2014-05-19 08:09 AM | Reply | Flag:

Now they just need to figure out how to make light out of nothing and that should explain everything.

#4 | Posted by path at 2014-05-19 11:52 AM | Reply | Flag:

Theory only, "the race is on to actually conduct the experiment".

#5 | Posted by nutcase at 2014-05-19 12:28 PM | Reply | Flag:

**** Manna from Heaven?

#6 | Posted by AntiCadillac at 2014-05-19 02:44 PM | Reply | Flag:

Another Star Trek prediction proven right. Now if we could only find more aliens built like Jeri Ryan....

#7 | Posted by northguy3 at 2014-05-19 07:54 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

#3 | Posted by MUSTANG

Use a microscope, duh.

#8 | Posted by mariosanchez at 2014-05-20 03:24 AM | Reply | Flag:

We proved this on Acid years ago. About time science catches up.

#9 | Posted by TwoCents at 2014-05-20 04:03 AM | Reply | Flag: | Funny: 1

I thought photons had no mass, like electrons or at least that what Steven Hawking said. So energy becomes mass? What is the reverse of E=MCsquared? How much energy would it require to make a gram of mater?

#10 | Posted by docnjo at 2014-05-20 05:35 AM | Reply | Flag:

I sent this to a leading Physicist and here's his view.

The process predicted by Breit and Wheeler is well known in theory. It must exist because it is the inverse of a process that is standardly and by now easily observed, namely electron positron annihilation. When it was first observed it was not easy (so difficult that it merited a Nobel prize). The only question in my mind is whether experimentalist who presumably will use the theoretical ideas proposed by plasma theoreticians will actually be able to do the experiment. They may run into unexpected experimental difficulties.

What often happens is that such experiments are not done, because there is no "glory" in them. If they observe the effect, everyone will say "Good, they confirmed what everyone knows must be true". If they do not observe it, the conclusion will be "Your experimental techniques are not good enough. Someone else will observe it in the future". If they could prove that the process does NOT exist, that would prove that quantum electrodynamics is wrong and that would be a huge disaster for all of modern physics

#11 | Posted by CrisisStills at 2014-05-20 10:32 AM | Reply | Flag:


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