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Produced in an accelerator, these antiatoms lasted only 40 billionths of a second before annihilating in collisions with particles of ordinary matter.
High-energy gamma rays easily collide with lower-energy gamma rays, annihilating each other to produce pairs of subatomic particles.
A gesture that is normally performed with great care, and often a touch of sensuality and narcissism, became rapid, vulgar, and mechanical, annihilating all eroticism.
In a matter world, antimatter has the disadvantage of vanishing when it touches its matter equivalent, annihilating both itself and the bit of ordinary matter, and leaving behind pure energy in the form of gamma rays.
To keep the positrons from bouncing right out of the trap, the researchers slowed them down with nitrogen gas inside the trap -- enough to cool the positrons without annihilating them.
Trapping changes the amount of energy that the positron brings to its annihilating collision with an electron, and this in turn is reflected in the total energy of the escaping gamma rays.