News Item – The BBC reported that nuclear physicists in the search for antimatter have had a major breakthrough. Scientists at the Switzerland/France CERN particle collider announced the successful capture of an anti-hydrogen atom for almost 16 minutes.
Dr. Skeinman: Well, we’ve come close a few times before. Once we thought we’d captured one, but it turned out to be a regular hydrogen atom in disguise. We all had a good laugh, though. Those atoms… (laughs)… they can be real rascals. But they’re always good fun. (pause) Anti-hydrogen, on the other hand…
Dr. Shields: It’s tricky enough just getting them into the chamber. Man, those antimatter atoms can smell a trap a mile away. I mean, you can’t just play casual, you got to be casual. You know what I’m saying? But this time? Why this one went in to the chamber? I don’t know. I really don’t.
Dr. McCall: Once I realized that anti-hydrogen atom was in the chamber at all, well, I kind of lost my cool. I was yelling, “He’s in! He’s in! Close the door!” (pause) It’s embarrassing. I sure didn’t help the situation.
Dr. Giles: After McCall flipped, everything just went nuts. That anti-hydrogen about tore the doors off the place. I was in there with a chair saying, “Whoa, there. Easy now. Take it easy.” Then Dr. Shields… I don’t know what the hell he was thinking.
Dr. Shields: Look, godammit, Giles was cornered and that atom was mad as hell. I’d been having lunch and, yeah, maybe I’d had a couple of beers with lunch, what of it? I bust my ass in that particle collider all day. So I had a bottle there, and I smashed the end of it off and said, “Okay, anti-hydrogen, listen up. This can go one of two ways. You want to go hard? Then, come on, atom; let’s dance.”
Dr. Giles: Obviously, that just pissed it off. So it slams in to me – not Shields, me. Knocked me right to the ground.
Dr. Pierce: We show up and Giles is on the ground, Shields is waving around that broken bottle. Jesus.
Dr. Hollister: I told everyone to spread out. Looked right at that atom and said, “Okay, now. Let’s all just calm down a little. All of us. We just want to have a little talk. That’s all.” I told Shields to put down the damn bottle. That temper of his…
Dr. Pierce: The whole time Hollister is talking that anti-hydrogen atom down – speaking in that calm, baritone of his – we’re just inching forward, inching forward. Before we know it, we’re at the back of the particle accelerator. If it’d chosen to fight? Man, I would hate to have to bet on who comes on top in that fight.
Dr. Hollister: I said, “We just want about twenty minutes of your time. That’s it.” It was still pretty agitated, bouncing around, making false starts at people. So I said, “Fifteen. That’s all, just fifteen minutes and you’re gone.”
Dr. McCall: So well all just kept our distance, that thing looking at us. It was tense. Tense. But after about ten minutes I think it really saw that we just wanted to talk. After the time was up, we just stepped aside, opened the doors. I swear it gave us a little nod, like… like it respected us, you know?
Dr. Shields: And then it was gone. Whoosh. It was something. I ain’t kidding. People talk about the dangers of anti-matter, of particle colliders… they don’t even know. They don’t even know.
Dr. Hollister: Amen to that.