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As of June 2011, scientists at CERN have succeeded in trapping atoms of anti-hydrogen for more than 15 minutes: sufficient time to study them in a little more detail.

I can at least try to let you know what I understand, in broad strokes, why this news item is important and hope to impart my sense of appreciation of this milestone.

The reason why this is important is because it is believed that the universe came into existence from nothing. Studies in Quantum Physics indicate that out of nothing, certain particles can come into existence for brief moments. They come into existence, however, with the presence of their anti-thesis. So in effect, +1 (Matter) and -1 (Anti-Matter) is still equal to zero. Perhaps the same had been true with the Big Bang, the only difference between is that for a very, very small percentage of all the particles that existed during the Big Bang a few managed to remain in existence because they did not manage to come in contact with their anti-thesis before their anti-thesis disappeared. What has remained is the matter that makes up everything in the universe today.

Published in Scientific Advances